Thursday, April 23, 2009

GENKVETCH

Posted by: By Ann Rabinowitz 

Many people feel out of place or uncomfortable utilizing the latest Internet communication tools such as Facebook and others.  Now, there is a new and exciting tool, GenKvetch, which focuses on the baby boomer generation and beyond.  Just starting out, this South Florida phenomenon appears to be a social networking tool as the others are, but one that caters to the likes, the dislikes and the funny bone of the world’s retirement age generation often called the silver surfers.

The headline banner on the front page of its site (www.genkvetch.com) states “Out of place at Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster?  Then this is your space!”

The creators are three senior Floridians – all over 60 - husband and wife Mel and Marilyn Carroll and Steve Greenbaum, all formerly from New York and now all living in Surfside, Florida, in Dade County.  As to their backgrounds, Mel Carroll is a Litvak whose father, Louis emigrated to Dublin where he gave his name an Irish twist.  He stayed with his brother Henry and thence, sometime later, he went onto America in 1914 or so where he met up with another brother, Abraham Carroll, who lived in the Bronx.  Mel has been looking for his Uncle Abraham’s son and daughter Paul and Molly Carroll whom he has not seen since he was eight years old.

Marilyn Carroll, Mel’s wife, is descended from grandparents Sigmund Holzmann and his wife Matilde Engel Holzmann, both originally from Bratislava and Prague, Czechoslovakia, respectively.  Later, this couple was resident in Vienna, Austria.  It was from there, in 1941, that they were taken by the Nazis and killed during the Holocaust whilst in transit to Kaunas, Lithuania.

The third member of the team, Steve Greenbaum, is descended from several generations born in America and he knows little of his origins apart from that.  He is like many who find themselves with no clues as to their heritage.

So it is that they all very ably represent three varied and different strands of American Jewry.

This creative team, two of whom are engineers, gave birth to their site in November, 2008.  Whilst it has a Yiddish name, the GenKvetch site is like Facebook and is non-denominational.  It attracts all segments of the retirement community worldwide.  It has now expanded to over 5,000 members and is still growing exponentially.  They utilize simplicity, humor, and a variety of links to focus on generation-geared content.  This helps to attract many members who are not highly technical nor computer savvy.

As people hear about the site, it is expected that it will greatly expand the potential for communicating with others in the kvetch generation.  Once it has hit its stride and expanded it geographical horizons, this will mean that there will be more opportunities for genealogical networking as there are on other such social networking sites.

The site has a Community section which then can be broken out into Groups and you can create a new group or forum which can involve your favorite activities or genealogical-related fare.  It is at the very beginning of its development, so GenKvetch is open to all possibilities.

So, stayed tuned and perhaps even participate in GenKvetch if you are 50 or older.  Take advantage of its potential and also add your little bit of genealogical savoir faire and senior experience to its content.

5 comments:

  1. I am a genkvetcher

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  2. The idea is good, but "after 50" limitation and mostly retirement topics of discussion provide limited applicability to the Jewish population. I undestand, that there is no way to beat Facebook or Myspace, but to make the serious project, the site should compete in terms of functionality and services range with market leaders.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. to Anonymous 9:46 am:
    hah! Im just uh regular kvetcher

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  5. Facebook was founded in 2004 and so has had quite some time to define its market and refine what it is about. Remember, GenKvetch is only 6 months old and has to go through growing pains like any other social networking utility. The members have to clearly define what they want in order for it to be useful to them.

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