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!
* 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.