Since families may be worlds apart, technology is a useful tool to increase "togetherness" and help keep memories and traditions alive. There are several ways you can incorporate technology and involve everyone.
Start A Family Website
Since purchasing a domain and hosting indefinitely can be expensive, this idea is more cost-effective if you have several family members who are willing to chip-in for the costs. Everyone can mutually decide which aspects of the website you want to remain private and which ones are okay to view publicly. One aspect of your website should be a construction of your family tree. If at least a few people in your family are interested in genealogical research, you can slowly add new information as it is found.
When creating your family website, make sure you have unlimited storage and bandwidth. This will make it easier for each family member to have an individual page where they may want to post information relevant to them. This can include their own blog, photos, social media links, and updates on their life they want to share with the family. Ideally, the layout of the website should be much like a family tree. Each personal page is linked to a larger, family page, and so on. As part of your family website, you may want to include a forum and live chat feature. Both act as an easy way for everyone to communicate, no matter the time of day.
Do Virtual Reunions And Gatherings
Family reunions have traditionally been a way for everyone to see each other in person, give updates, and take pictures. Since it is increasingly common for families to be spread across the nation and internationally, it might not always be possible or affordable to attend family reunions. If someone attending the reunion has an HD camera that is suitable for live-streams, they can set up the camera on a tripod to capture most of the festivities. An alternative is renting a high-quality camera and accessories for a few days. Use a live-streaming service that only allows participants access to the stream if they have a direct link.
Using technology can be extended to other gatherings throughout the year. It is common for families to reunite for birthdays or other holidays. For example, if your family celebrates Thanksgiving, it may be impossible for everyone to travel to a central location for the holiday. Try scheduling dinner at the same time and you can have a single live-stream, capturing Thanksgiving dinner at multiple homes. By making it easier for everyone to attend, family get-togethers can happen more often throughout the year.
Try Digital Scrapbooking
Traditional scrapbooking has been a popular method of chronicling life and family events. Some people find traditional methods of scrapbooking are too time-consuming, or they simply take pictures of different events and they never put them into a physical scrapbook. Digital scrapbooking is a good alternative, because it is usually quick to put together a layout and can be shared with family members. If you are concerned about privacy, you may want a digital scrapbook program that is installed on your hard drive, and you can share layouts via email.
For online services, you can give other family members access to the digital scrapbook so they can help by scanning in old pictures and adding notations about people and events you may not remember. Many digital scrapbook services allow you to print your layouts to create a physical scrapbook, or you can order a bound copy. This makes it easy for you and other family members to select which pages you want in your book and have more flexibility.
It is important to find unique ways to preserve family memories and traditions. With various ways to integrate technology, it is easier to pass down information and traditions, while continuing family events, even when your family is spread out in different locations. For additional ideas on how to use the internet to pass on traditions, consider joining a family tradition online community like Our Family Tradition.