What To Do When Technological Changes Get You Down

Feeling frustrated by changing technology? Here’s a look back at a post I originally wrote in 2013 that addresses the mayhem tech changes can cause, and how a visit to a fast food restaurant changed my perspective on a particularly rough day.

The “Mayhem” commercials from Allstate are a riot, but of course all that mayhem isn’t all that funny when it’s happening to you.

Allstate Raccoon Mayhem Commercial

Sometimes it feels like technology companies are having a little mayhem fun with us when they get us up and running with their software program, or app, or phone, or tablet, or whatever, and then *BAM* they change it all up.  Mayhem!

It’s not really that we don’t want new technology, it’s just that:

1. We sometimes get very little if any warning that it’s coming

2. The change requires investing time in learning all new ways to do something.

3. The change seems to be suspiciously benefiting the changer and not us – the “changee.” 

4. We have to shift out of auto pilot into manual drive
…which means it takes longer to do tasks, and we tend to make mistakes more often because our brain, our eyes, and our fingers are all trained to quickly complete the task the old way.Technological Frustration

I’m usually pretty excited about new technology and I love seeing what it can do for our genealogy efforts, but don’t think that I don’t have my moments when I just want to run screaming into the street and chuck my laptop in the gutter. We all have our moments. And I’m here to tell you that I feel your pain and have suffered myself, some mayhem this week, in fact, I call it:

Mobile Mayhem

See, the thing is, folks love their smart phones. Walt Mossberg, principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal just tweeted that according to an Experian marketing survey the average America spends an hour a day with his or her smartphone. And iPhone users spend more time than Android users.

Smart PhoneGoogle, and specifically YouTube which they own, has definitely taken notice of all this smart phone savvy-ness, and they’ve decided to turn my world, and all the other YouTube Channel publisher’s worlds out there upside down.

I launched my YouTube channel way back in the stone-age, 2007, before Google even owned YouTube. And I have over 60 videos on the channel, and we’ve been diligently working on getting prepared for a while new phase of video production here at Genealogy Gems. So I have had my hands quite full on the video front.

YouTube has implemented a total redesign of YouTube channel pages. The goal is to make the channels mobile friendly, while still accommodating the wide range of full size computer screens that are out there. But in order to accomplish this, we as channel publishers have to scramble and get new artwork for our banner, produce a new introduction video and rearrange the video layout.

So how did I respond to this change you ask?

I ignored it, of course, until I had about a week left before they were set to flip the switch. And then this week all of a sudden it was an emergency to get my channel ready.

So I finally broke down and hired someone to create the new artwork, then I spent hours one morning trying to get all the changes made. My frustration level was growing a little because I just wasn’t happy with how the design of the new artwork was fitting the new layout. And there were so many other things I wanted and needed to be doing that week.

Then my sweet neighbor came to the door and my dogs, who think every knock on the door is a masked marauder, went totally ballistic, blasting through the room knocking over my morning coffee on their way to the door. So now I had coffee all over the carpet.

After my neighbor left I got the portable steam cleaner out to clean up the coffee stained carpet and it worked for a total of 45 seconds, then dribbled to nothing. So I went to the kitchen and set it on the counter to look at it and when I took the nozzle off it dribbled dirty water all over my freshly cleaned kitchen floor.

I spent the next two hours cleaning the kitchen floor, fixing the steam cleaner nozzle, and cleaning my carpet.  And my YouTube channel was still not quite right, and I wasn’t sure how to fix it. Panic started to set in. All of a sudden I feared I would never figure it out, or get it done, and on top of that I was getting further behind on everything else I needed to do.

When my husband got home we went out for fast food because I hadn’t had a chance to do a thing about preparing dinner. So he listened to my day as we go through the line, and then I went to get my soda and I set my tray on the counter by the soda machine. Unfortunately I didn’t notice that the counter top was about six inches shorter than the tray, and my tray of shanghai beef and cream cheese won tons unceremoniously hit the floor.

At this point I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and pretty sure it was all YouTube’s fault.

Then, a woman my age came into the restaurant with her daughter and husband. She sat and waited while they ordered the food because she was in a wheel chair. And needless to say my perspective made a big course correction.

Maybe I don’t really know what frustration can be. And…get ready for it…maybe I over-reacted all day long.

She smiled at me and I smiled back and then I got to thinking back on my day. And I realized it’s so often not the change itself that causes the mayhem, but it’s our knee jerk response of fear to it.

If you have ever found yourself gritting your teeth as the next big technological roll out happens, or sometimes worse yet, the closing of a favorite tool like iGoogle or the Google News Timeline, here are some things to keep in mind:

First: Stay Calm and Carry On
Just like the famous saying from World War II Britain, we are much more effective in difficult times when we take a breath and stay calm, and then we continue moving forward to the best of our ability at our pace.

Often times it’s our lack of calm that causes us not carry on as usual, and in the end, brings more trouble down on our own heads.

The older I get the more I can see how human beings bring a lot of stuff on themselves. I didn’t start picking away at the new artwork and design until the last week before the change implementation because I was focusing on how they shouldn’t be changing it. And yea, that kind of thinking wasn’t hurting anyone but myself, because YouTube wasn’t about to call a halt to it because some channels didn’t like the idea.

And simple things, like I knew better than to set my coffee where I did, but I was so freaked out about the YouTube design I carelessly set it at dog level. And it was just silly to pull the nozzle off the steam cleaner over a clean floor rather than over the sink.

Second: The Technology Folks Probably Have a Good Reason for the Change
Sometimes it’s a financially driven change; they just can’t make it sustainable as is. And I would much rather see an inconvenient change than a complete disappearance of a Google or an Ancestry.

And sometimes it’s because the technology folks do have their eye on the future, and they see the big picture of how you and other users use your technology today. In the end the change will meet a pressing need, and they are striving to stay ahead of the game so we aren’t moaning down the road. YouTube’s change is a great example of that. They’ve made the case that a large percentage of users watch video from mobile devices and they challenged us as channel publishers to check our own analytics. And you know what, they’re right! I wasn’t keeping an eye on that but YouTube was.

Third: A Little Investment in Education can Go a Long WayEducation Investment
It’s OK if you have to slow down for a little while and spend some time getting re-educated. I decided to sign up for an online class YouTube offered channel publishers and in the first hour or so I came to better understand how my channel was going to benefit. And understanding the benefits will give you the motivation to take on the change.

I know, it’s hard to imagine that you can find even more time on education. But as I’ve said before on my Genealogy Gems Podcast, I think as genealogists we need to actually be budgeting a certain amount of time for education. Don’t leave it to be squeezed in in a panic. Allocate 10% of your research time for reading and education, and another 10% on staying organized, and I guarantee you remaining 80% will be much more productive!

The truth is, if my YouTube channel doesn’t look perfect yet, I trust that you guys will still be watching, and it certainly won’t stop me from publishing new videos.

And it’s sort of funny that this has been on my mind so much this week and I’ve been personally facing the YouTube change here at Genealogy Gems, because I just had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with Ancestry.com where they provided a behind the scenes look at some of the changes they are working on for the upcoming months. Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 156 to hear the details.

After all I struggled with and all I learned from it last week, I found myself being much more open to the Ancestry changes. I was more focused on spotting the benefits to the genealogist, and I found myself admiring their commitment to continuous improvement. See the thing is, whether you are an individual genealogist or a big company like Ancestry, if you aren’t striving for continuous improvement you will fall behind, and the work will become more difficult because you are working harder than you have to.

 

Free Genealogy and DNA Video Presentations Now Available from MyHeritage

The second annual MyHeritage user conference, MyHeritage LIVE 2019, was held in Amsterdam. 

MyHeritage

Below you’ll find a list of lectures from the conference which are now online. These sessions, given by world-renowned experts and valued MyHeritage staff, are now available on MyHeritage Education.

If you missed the conference or the live stream, you can now take watch these video recordings for free, from the comfort of your own home, at any time, and at your own pace.

Pick from this List of MyHeritage Video Classes

Here is a list with a full description of each and links to watch them:

Opening Session: Keynote by MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet

In his keynote address at MyHeritage LIVE, MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, talks about recent MyHeritage achievements as well as upcoming features and projects

Watch

What’s New at MyHeritage

with Maya Lerner

Maya Lerner, VP of Product at MyHeritage, gives a summary of MyHeritage’s new features and a look ahead at future plans.

Watch

free genealogy video classes

Introducing the New Educational Resource Center for MyHeritage Users

with Daniel Horowitz

This presentation will give you an inside look at MyHeritage Education, a new online resource center for enhancing your understanding of the MyHeritage platform.

Watch

Hear my interview with Daniel Horowitz in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #221.

Daniel Horowitz MyHeritage

Searching and Browsing on MyHeritage to Get the Most Out of Your Research

with Cyndi Ingle

With 10 billion historical records, MyHeritage is able to provide the most extensive genealogy searches available on the Internet. Learn how to use them efficiently to find new and relevant information to incorporate into your research.

Watch

Discovering Immigration Stories with MyHeritage

with Lisa Alzo

Every immigrant has a story. Learn how to leverage the immigration records collection at MyHeritage to uncover key clues and make amazing discoveries about your immigrant ancestors from both sides of the pond.

Watch

Lisa Alzo has been a guest blogger here at Genealogy Gems. Her articles include Heritage Receipts – Aunties, Sprinkles and the Santa-in-his-cap cookie cutter and 4 Steps to Getting Started with Scrivener Software for Writing Family History.

Using MyHeritage to Find Ancestors from the Netherlands

with Yvette Hoitink

If you have ancestors from the Netherlands, this talk introduces you to the most important records and shows you what you can find online, even if you don’t know any Dutch. Learn how naming traditions and emigration patterns can help you find your Dutch ancestors.

Watch

PANEL: Researching Dutch Family History Around the World 

These experts give tips and advice on how to research your roots in Surinam and the former Dutch East Indies.

Watch

Evaluating Your Smart Matches™ and Record Matches on MyHeritage

with James Tanner

Smart Matches™ and Record Matches on MyHeritage supercharge your research. Learn how to review and evaluate these automatically generated matches and effectively use them to advance your genealogical research goals.

Watch

An Overview of Western European Record Collections on MyHeritage

with Mike Mansfield of MyHeritage

With over three billion records from thousands of collections of European origin and a vibrant user community, MyHeritage is an incredible resource for European research. This session will provide an overview of these collections and highlight how to best find access and utilize these sources.

Watch

Using Geni and How it is Different from Other Genealogy Platforms

with Mike Stangel

Learn more about the benefits of collaboration in a single-family tree, including adding sources to shared profiles, communicating with public discussions, understanding the revision history of profiles, and working with projects. Learn how Geni and MyHeritage work together to help improve the quality of the World Family Tree and connect you to new relatives.

Watch

Top Technology Tips for MyHeritage Users & Introduction to Family Tree Webinars

with Geoff Rasmussen

Watch

Developing Your Own Research Plan on MyHeritage

with James Tanner

MyHeritage provides an extremely valuable platform for conducting systematic and source-based research. A formal research plan can help you organize all the information presented in a coherent, useful way, and keep you moving towards your genealogical goals.

Watch

Using Census, Immigration, Newspaper, and Yearbook Records at MyHeritage to Explore the LIves of Your Ancestors

with Lisa Alzo

In genealogy, cluster and collateral research is a key strategy for solving complex brick wall problems. Learn how to use census, immigration, newspaper, and yearbook records at MyHeritage to explore the lives of your ancestors and their inner circles.

Watch

 

free genetic genealogy DNA video classes

Science for the Non-Scientist: How Does MyHeritage Produce their DNA Results?

with Diahan Southard

DNA test results are a companion to our other research methods. A better understanding of how it all works will lead to better use of the tools for your family history research.

Watch

Diahan has been a regular contributor here at Genealogy Gems. Read her article Adoption DNA Match Strategy: Combine DNA Test Types.

Click the video player below to watch my conversation with Diahan about common genetic genealogy misconceptions:

What Exactly is a Centimorgan? An Introduction to the Science of DNA Testing

with Ran Snir

Whether you have already taken a DNA test or this is the first time you’re hearing about it, in this session we will start from the very beginning. We’ll go over the basic terms of DNA testing and learn how DNA is passed down through generations, how and why individuals have shared DNA segments and how we’re able to estimate one’s ethnicity origins.

Watch

Ran Snir was featured in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #227. Click here to hear my interview with him on the Theory of Family Relativity™.

Mapping Your DNA Matches on MyHeritage

with Blaine Bettinger

Learn about useful tools to organize your list of DNA Matches, how to differentiate between them, and how to better utilize each tool.

Watch

Using the Theory of Family Relativity™ to Research Your DNA Matches

with Ran Snir

Learn about the revolutionary technology that saves you dozens of hours of research by synthesizing billions of data points to craft multiple theories about how you and your DNA Matches might be related.

Watch

PANEL: The Future of DNA Testing

Roberta Estes, Blaine Bettinger, Yaniv Erlich

This panel of DNA experts discusses the current state of DNA testing and what the future will bring.

Watch

Formulating a DNA Testing Plan

with Blaine Bettinger

DNA testing can be expensive, but DNA evidence is a component of exhaustive research when it is available. Identify some of the ways you can minimize costs while maximizing results by formulating a DNA testing plan early in your research.

Watch

Why You Should Complement Your DNA Data with Genealogy Research

with Diahan Southard

Building a family tree is free and adds a lot of value to your DNA test. Learn how it can help improve the accuracy of relationship estimates, trace common ancestors to uncover how exactly you are related, increase the chances DNA Matches will contact you, help you identify the family members whose DNA results would contribute the most value to your research, and more.

Watch

The World Wide DNA Web

with Alon Diament Carmel

Alon Diament Carmel, Ph.D., researcher for the MyHeritage science team, explains what we can learn from the vast web billions of DNA Matches about genetic groups and identity.

Watch

 Introducing the MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry Test

with Yaniv Erlich

Discover how your genes affect your health and explore the valuable insights you can gain from this latest addition to our DNA product line. The MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test gives you dozens of personalized health reports that explain your genetic risk for developing certain conditions, and tell you whether you’re a carrier for hereditary conditions that can potentially be passed on to your children.

Watch

PANEL: DNA Testing for Health

with Yaniv Erlich, Diahan Southard, Roberta Estes

This panel of DNA experts discusses the advantages of taking a Health DNA test to learn more about how your genes may affect your health and empower you for the future. 

Watch

 

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