Communications channels: current status and discussion

Ever since the my.barackobama.com email list melted down in July, Get FISA Right has had problems with communications.  We discussed it in November/December, and after getting people’s input, I made a proposal, which included introducing a blog,  trying to shift discussions from the spam-infested message board to the discussion forum on the wiki, and introducing “newsletter-style” updates that get broadcast to the email lists (and twitter, and Facebook).

Putting it into practice for the first time in the Ideas for Change finals, we unsurprisingly ran into a few challenges.  In a message on the Google Group email list, Lee mentioned that she’s still overwhelmed by the number of different communications channels — and bombarded by too many notifications. So this thread is an attempt to describe our current situation, give some recommendations for how to stay in touch today, and discussions for future improvements.

If you only want to check one place, the blog (https://getfisaright.wordpress.com) will have all critical updates and most of the discussion.   The RSS feeds for entries and comments are an easy way of seeing what’s new. If you want to follow a specific thread after you comment, click on Notify me of followup comments via email (more here).   If you want to bring up a new topic, we’ll try to make sure there’s always an “open thread” on the front page — here’s the current one.

We are going to try to start up to a daily newsletter/update, that can get posted on the blog and then broadcast via email, Twitter, Facebook (maybe), MySpace, etc.  We’re trying it out for MyBO first; see the work-in-progress here.  If you’d like to help, please leave a comment below.

If you want email notifications or discussion, the best bet is the GetFISARight-Discussion Google Group.  We continue to send announcements to the MyBO list as well, and I have been letting a handful of other posts through as well to make sure everybody knows there’s life, but it remains buggy and difficult to moderate.

On Facebook, we send event invites and “blast messages” to members of our Facebook group.  We also send messages to people who accept event invitations with updates about the events; for example, when the agenda and notes for the conference call are posted.  In general we try to keep blast messages to the group relatively rare, once every two weeks or so; when we’re in the middle of something, though, they get more frequent.*  Longer term, we will probably want to do more with our Page (or maybe a Cause) but for now the group is the hub.

Still to be determined is how change.org fits into it.  There’s a discussion area on our idea, and they’ll be opening up a group blog for all of the Ideas for Change winners soon.  We shall see.  However, you won’t need to track this to stay informed.

Right now, there are about 2500 subscribers on the MyBO email list, 2100 people on Facebook, 140 people in this Google Group, and 100-200 readers of the blog.   My guess is that there’s probably less than 50% overlap between any two; that is, most people who get email on one of the lists aren’t in our Facebook group and vice versa.   So while it’s confusing, it’s also a source of strength: we wouldn’t have finished in the top 10 in Ideas for Change if we didn’t have all of these channels.

Hopefully this post, and the introduction of newsletter-style updates, will improve the situation some by clarifying and further simplifying.  However I’m sure there are ways to further improve things … so please share your thoughts and suggestions.

And as I said above,  if you’d like to help with the newsletter, please volunteer by leaving a comment!

jon

* I think there were a half-dozen for the Ideas for Change finals, including one at the last minute to try to push the special prosecutor idea into the top 10.

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12 Responses to Communications channels: current status and discussion

  1. jonpincus says:

    Ooops. I forgot to mention the discussion forum on the wiki, which unlike the blog is a place where anybody can start up a thread. If you have the time, it’s good to check in occasionally see if anything interesting is going on (once you reply to a thread, you get notified in email about other replies, so it’s easy to follow).

    I agree that this is confusing, and we may well want to drop the discussion forum at some point — or shift it to change.org. On the other hand we’ve only just started trying to use it, and it fills an important role of letting anybody start up a topic (something that’s much harder to do on a blog as the group grows bigger). So my inclination is to continue to give it a chance.

  2. pebruckart says:

    I posted this to the Google group: I’m going to try to get a conference call set up for the week of Feb. 2nd, to discuss channels of communications. If we can get some folks from the group on mybarackobama.com, the Google group, the Wiki and Blog, and folks who might have become disconnected due to communications difficulty, it would be a great chance to have an open discussion to nail down the problems people are having and get some suggestions for possible solutions.

    I would think a conference call would be a really good way for folks who tend to be less connected via Internet/Web communications to tap in give some feedback about simplifying things or making communications more effective.

  3. […] Note: this is the first attempt at a regular update as described in the Communications Channels post.  It’s longer than an update would normally be and so gives a good idea of the range of […]

  4. pebruckart says:

    Hey everyone,
    I said I would take the lead on setting up a conference call on this topic, but I haven’t done so as yet. Sorry to have dropped the ball on this, but I’ve been offline most of the week. We could move it back a week, but I’ve also had some second thoughts about this, as people seemed to express little interest in it here or on the google group.

    Any thoughts?

  5. jonpincus says:

    No worries, Patrick, I think a lot of people (including me) have been offline this week — discussion’s slow on everything.

    How about this idea: let’s set up a conference call for the weekend of the 7th/8th on various topics, including communications, and try to do some preparation for it online is we try out the Dailyish update (etc.) approach.

    jon

  6. […] Note: see the Communications Channels post and the Next dailyish update page on the wiki for more on the “daily update” […]

  7. […] – me, on the Get FISA Right blog, January 23 […]

  8. […] update: change.org post up, conference call Saturday Note: see the Communications Channels post and the Next dailyish update page on the wiki for more on the “daily update” […]

  9. admic says:

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  11. Hamnheeta says:

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