Family history blog - should I start posting out of order?
December 18, 2013 12:07 AM   Subscribe

I started blogging family history recently and have been having fun with it, but now I'm at a crossroads. Should I break out of the chronology and start posting content out of order?

Last spring I began blogging a collection of diaries, letters, photos and a little audio related to my family. At one point I accidentally fell into a pattern of posting content from today's date in 1942 and it stuck. Each time I hit a date that matches with the corresponding date in the past, I post new stuff. I've stuck to that strategy since then and have been posting about 2-4 pieces of content per week. This might hold up, but the strategy is starting to feel stale.

Now I am wondering, would my site be better served if I I break out of this chronology and start posting content "out of order"? I have a huge quantity of stuff, and it might be fun to mix things up, but I am very new to this. The materials I have, in addition to what I listed above, also include education, finance, military and other records. Breaking the pattern and jumping around in time could be a huge boon to the site, but it would also be a game changer and I'm not certain how best to strategizeā€Ž. I could seriously use some input. A link to the blog can be found in my MeFi profile.
posted by christopherious to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would suggest being consistent. Either that, or present the information in a way that makes the actual posting date irrelevant.
posted by Magnakai at 2:39 AM on December 18, 2013

I like the existing format, but if breaking out of the pattern would be a boon to the site and more fun for you, I say let it go.

To smooth the transition, perhaps you could continue to post a date-related entry once per week and add a "this week in history" link in the sidebar that displays everything in this category in reverse chronological order, i.e., current week at the top of the page. If you haven't already done so, add tags to those entries indicating all relevant categories.

When the date catches up to an "out-of-order" entry, add the "this week in history" tag to the post, e.g., if you post something about Pearl Harbor tomorrow, next Dec 7th, add the new tag. The entry will then appear with your chronological files and with your "military' files.

Very nice site, btw. If you decide to add your family tree database to the website, check out The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding*. It's an excellent program in and of itself and there is a WordPress plug-in to facilitate integrating the apps. (I prefer just using HTML/CSS over the plug-in. This option is explained online.)

*I've used the program for years, but am not personally associated with the author or company.
posted by she's not there at 2:49 AM on December 18, 2013

I also think that the best approach might well be to keep adding to the existing posts by making them into an 'on this day' theme while throwing in other content. If you get sick of 'on this day' later or run out of suitable stuff you can phase it out gradually and non-irretrievably (if you see what I mean).
posted by Segundus at 3:16 AM on December 18, 2013

I would follow your heart. Write where your passion leads you. That tends to produce the best, most meaningful writing, and in the long run that is the most important thing.
posted by Flood at 4:15 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Writing is hard, inspiration is fickle.
Write what you want and sort it out with some chronological index.
posted by Mezentian at 7:02 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If this is mostly for other members of your family, I don't think consistency is king. Mostly people want to see cool stuff about their family in history, they're not going to be all "UGH THIS IS NOT FROM 1942 WTF".

That said, you could stick to a "today's date in our family history" theme, but jump around years. I also like the idea of sometimes doing a "today in history" entry but other times not.
posted by Sara C. at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2013

My cousin and I just started a similar site for our family. Given the volume of stuff we're finding and being given to post, I think it would drive us crazy to have to stick to a set chronology. But FWIW, our family members seem to be thrilled that somebody is posting family archives at all, so we don't have a strong incentive to be faithful to a timeline.

The sometimes, sometimes not approach others have mentioned sounds great, though. Maybe we'll try that on our site!
posted by Rykey at 5:22 PM on December 18, 2013

« Older I'm stuck and not sure how to do life.   |   Specialist brick repairs in South London Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.