Thursday, October 1, 2009

don't have a website? you best get a blog.

I manage a blog for a state gov subcommittee of cultural institutions working to promote the census. If you're not already aware, the Census = money. For example, the amount of Library Services and Technology Act funds Indiana receives for library services is based on a population formula. So make sure your people know that their count matters. Also it's confidential and safe, blah blah blah. If you want more info, read the blog.
The other subcommittees apparently weren't jumping on the blog bandwagon and I don't blame them. The point of a subcommittee blog wasn't immediately clear to me. But one of our roles is to recruit other organizations willing to promote the Census. I found that recruiting and getting buy-in over e-mail (e-mail because this is low on everyone's priority list) was going to be difficult. Even straight-up communication was going to be tough. Because once I'd recruited an organization (thank you, friend!) I didn't know how to get them all the information they needed - that is, without an annotated list of 15 links that she was either going to ignore or kill me for.

Hence the blog.

If your group or whatever doesn't have a website, you damn well better get yourself a blog. And you best start categorizing your posts so it can be navigated at least a little like a website. Because people don't want information at any time other than when they want it. An e-mail that has to be filed away in an endless log of Outlook inbox folders is not awesome. A link to your blog is so much easier.

That's what I did. I scrapped my awful e-mail and threw together a (readymade) Wordpress blog. It's really kind of pretty. The posts are tagged by category. And what's most awesome about Wordpress (as I type on Blogger) is it has PAGES. These are permanent links at the top of the page that make the whole thing much more like a website. I put our most crucial info here.Yes, in a perfect world, we'd have an awesome wiki that everyone in the subcommittee would understand how to use and then make use of to share information. For now, it's enough that one of us has uploaded the resources we'll all need at some point and set up the blog to make the recruitment pitch for us. The blog isn't going to win any awards but it beats the hell out of an e-mail folder.

The next time you're working with a low-key or low-funds group of people/committee/community organization/campaign, consider throwing together a blog. They're designed to be user-friendly. Just because you can't put together a website doesn't mean you can't take advantages of having a central online presence for information sharing.

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