The session started with a welcoming address by Josh Taylor, President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. He was followed by conference co-chairs Paula Stuart-Warren and Dawne Slater-Putt. They all noted that a large crowd was in attendance.
Several announcements were made: a new FGS app is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices. Unlike similar announcements at other conferences, this new app is not a conference-specific schedule of events. Instead, it is a year-round app that provides info about FGS activities and resources at all times during the year. It is expected to be updated frequently. The app can be download from Google Play and from the iPad and iPhone app stores.
One bit of news is a new agreement that FGS has signed with Dell computers, giving all FGS member societies, their members, and the members' families the ability to purchase Dell computers at a discount directly from the Dell web site. Details will become available within the next few days. Dell is also sponsoring the FGS Youth Award. Future Award winners will receive a Dell laptop.
George Morgan (VP of Membership) gave remarks and then introduced Cyndi Howells, the plenary session speaker. Most genealogists recognize Cyndi's name as the creator and owner of the award-winning Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. She spoke on "Is Your Society Web Site All It's Cracked Up To Be?" The talk was not aimed solely at webmasters. Instead, she discussed the information that society officers and members need to contribute to the web site and she stressed that the site must be updated frequently with info about meetings, events, new data extraction projects, society newsletters, society publications, and much more.
I thought Cyndi gave a dynamite presentation. I couldn't write notes fast enough to keep up with her. However, her talk was recorded and you can purchase it as a downloadable audio file from Fleetwood Onsite Conference Recording, Inc. Don't look for it just yet, however. The audio recording folks are very busy at the conference so I bet the recordings won't be available on the web site for a few days yet. You might check occasionally at http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com.
Here are two "takeaways" from Cyndi's talk that will stick in my mind for a long, long time:
"Your web site is your ambassador to the world."Order the recording to hear more.
"Nobody will join your society of they can't find you. Where do most people look? On the web."
A smiling crowd filed out of the Plenary Session about 9:30 AM and headed to the individual presentations. It was the start of a very good day.