Your Online Reunion

Families are our first community, and it’s no surprise that I first starting experimenting with connecting my large family online as my first project. Today, I’m an analyst focused on communities for the largest brands in the world –and to think I start with a group of Owyang’s.

What happens offline happens online, in fact our blood lines are now being found in Yahoo groups, geni.com (online family tree, where I have 291 blood relatives), wikipedia, and personal created communities.

My family was able to connect online, and it eventually resulted in a large family reunion –which we then led a group of us back to our humble village in Zhongshan China two years ago. We had a second reunion yesterday in Oakland, we continue to share online as we did in person.

I’m not the only one, Stephanie Agresta was able to connect with her family members because of one of my blog posts, take a moment to watch this video –it’s heart warming.

I posed a question to my twitter network to find out if their family has connected online BECAUSE of the internet, (hear some of their stories), I’d love to hear your story.

  • I recently found 3 relatives because of Myspace and facebook. I have been out of touch with 2 of them for over 20 years and it has been an amazing experience to get re-connected with them. I also reconnected with a close personal friend that I had lost touch with due to her moving and changing addresses and phone numbers.One friend said that my name was not “googleable”, but she found me on Myspace.
    What a huge blessing, and now we “speak” almost daily. I am so happy to have them in my life, they never left my heart, and it is like we never were parted.
    Thanks for the post!

  • I’ve been coordinating my mother’s family reunion for the last 6 years. My mother has a big family, on my father’s side too. My mother has 14 brothers and sisters; however, they are not the most internet savvy. Nevertheless, your post is right on. I am hoping to leverage social media to improve family communications and bonding so that the family reunions will not occur more effectively, but they will increase excite and grow in participation.

    Thanks for the post!

  • I’ve been holding onto some old B&W family negatives from the 1940s, when my mom was in grade school. A month ago, I digitized all of them, put them on Flickr, and sent the URL to all of the cousins asking for feedback. Family members have been adding comments, identifying people and places, and we’re starting to hear some great stories.

    Social Media as a way to build a family heirloom!

  • We use skype to video-conference with geographically distant family so that they can enjoy our daughter’s development. We use tumblon.com not only for sharing current memories and milestones, but also for preservation – an interactive, online, multi-media baby book . . . that doesn’t gather dust.

  • My wife is an Indian origin, born in East African country of Tanzania. She is internet savvy as other Tanzanian and facebook is quiet popular there in compare to any other social networking site.
    When we both married(I am an Indian) I took her with me to India, she knows her roots are in India but he never heard anything from her Indian relatives who still resides somewhere in India. As a blogger myself and an Indian I am more active on orkut.com than any other social networking. My wife followed me on orkut and luckily she was able to trace 4 of her cousins by their surnames on orkut.
    Simply, amazing experience.

  • My 65 y/o mom called my cell in a panic on Sunday night because she hadn’t heard from me despite leaving a message or two on my home “answering machine”. I had sent her a couple emails on Friday and over the weekend and, in my own head, I assumed I was staying in touch with her. Because of IM, Texting, Facebook, Twitter, and even email, I’ve become a lot more telephone adverse for casual conversations.

    I’ve noticed a lot of my highschool & college buddiess (who seem to be joining Facebook in droves) are also getting their parents to join as a way to stay connected and up-to-date within the family. In some ways, my mom’s generation is having to severely depart from their “communications comfort zone” and adapt to the inevitable ways their kids (and grandkids) are communicating or else risk feeling out of the loop.

    That said, I’ll kick it “old school” tonight and give my mom a call to catch up. I don’t think she’s ready to start tweeting just yet – and she deserves to know that her son cares about her very much!

  • Ouyang Lai Jong (Whinney)

    I am trying to trace lost relatives as well as the village my father came from in China and am hoping that someone in your group will be able to help me.

    My Father and his father left China about 1936 for South South Africa and lived there until their deaths.

    According to some information that I have (which isn’t much)from my fathers gravestone his name was 區 陽 志 桌 Ouyang Zhizhuo/Ngau Yeuhng Cheuk and according to his tombstone came from 白 藤 江 尾 Baitengjiangwei/Baak Tahng Meih about 35km from Guangzhou. I know that his fathers name was Sap and my father had a sister who lived in Port Elizabeth and he and his father lived in Johannesburg.

    I would appreciate it very much if anyone can give me any information they have if possible. Please note that I do not speak any chinese.

    Regards

    Lai Jong

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