A lot of researchers use Social Media to help them not only find possible relatives, but also to stay aware of all the new tools, toys, and online databases to assist us in our endeavor. Twitter is great for keeping up with what's happening; I have found some success in connecting and finding new relatives with Facebook, as just two examples. All are great for connecting with other researchers, both experts and amateurs.
The most recent big change, at least in my mind has been Google+. I had been a Google+ member for 18 months or so like many, but had not used it much until Google+ Communities were made available in early December, 2012.
And ....BAM... the amount of activity regarding Google+ began to really take off and is increasing rapidly. I recall a conversation with a colleague, Caroline Pointer where we discussed the value of the brand new Google+ communities. Within hours, Caroline started what is now the Largest (1316 members at this time) Genealogy related community Tech for Genealogy & Family History Researchers as well as a Private Community for researchers Genealogy & Family History for Non-Professionals intended to be a place for non professionals to collaborate in a safe, non judgmental space.
There were many other Google+ communities set up in the first days of December - Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy, Lynn Palermo's Family History Writers, and Susan Sabia's Family Ancestry. I belong to most of these and get good information from them, as well as participate. I later set up two specialized communities myself related to my interest areas - San Francisco Genealogy and Genealogy and Newspapers. It is difficult to count them all but my guess is that there are somewhere between 100 and 200 genealogy or family history related Google+ communities.
Tessa Keough was the pioneer for Hangouts. Tessa has been a huge Google+ proponent since its inception. Her Legacy Virtual Users Group Hangouts on Air (HOAs) which are recorded and available on her YouTube channel were instrumental in helping others to find out the tricks of using this valuable tool.
Soon many folks were starting to take advantage of the Hangouts and Hangouts on Air capabilities. I hosted a Hangout regarding Newspapers and Genealogy very early in February, but because of other life priorities have not been able to be more participative with Hangouts. And the video activity has taken off!
I can't speak to all of the Hangout/Hangout On Air activity, but there are two that come to mind that you should be aware of. The first is Caroline Pointers' weekly What's Up Genealogy? video interview series. You can catch all of the episodes on her 4YourFamilyStory YouTube channel. The second is "our friend in genealogy" Pat Ericksons' Dear Myrtle YouTube channel as well. Pat, as I recall was motivated by the ease of the Hangouts (as well as the low cost - free!) to move her weekly webinars and other activity to Google+. She also later created a growing community DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Community where her followers can keep track of her activities.
Just this past week, Google made many changes to Google+ which in my view further enhance the usefulness of this magnificent resource. You need to check them out.
So - this is not a comparison of Google+ versus Twitter versus Facebook. But an encouragement for you to see that there is an abundance of activity that will help you connect and learn.
So Genealogy and Family History is alive and well on Google+ and you need to join in. You will be glad that you did. As I used to say many many years ago - "It is a Happenin' Place."