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 Post subject: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:13 pm
Posts: 246
Location: Minneapolis, MN
I believe I have an answer the problem of our somewhat-fragmented communications.


The problem:
Aside from face time on Wednesday evenings and the underutilized IRC channel (hint hint...) we have two primary means of group communication: This forum, and the Google Groups mailing list. Some people are on the forums, some are on the mailing list, some are on both, and some, regrettably, are on neither. This means that whenever discussion of important issues takes place on the forum, as it often does, a substantial percentage of our membership is left in the dark.


Proposal:
We create a weekly email newsletter, wherein important discussion from the forums, the mailing list, and (once a month?) the board meeting minutes, is summarized and distributed to members. This newsletter could also contain upcoming events, interesting things done at the space recently, and whatever else seems relevant.


Considerations:
If this is not handled well, it simply becomes another fragmented communications medium. Therefore, I further propose that subscription to the newsletter be on an opt-out basis, with new members agreeing to receive it when they sign the membership agreement. They would then have to willfully decide not to be kept updated on our various happenings if they do not wish to receive it.

Obviously, someone will have to create and send this newsletter each week. Ideally, this could be handled by a few volunteers in a rotation, so that each person only has to write the newsletter once per month, or every two months, or whatever. In the interim, I volunteer to compile this newsletter each week myself.


Further issues:
If this idea goes forward, and we do subscribe all new members by default, we still have to figure out how to handle all the existing members. It would be somewhat rude to simply subscribe everyone, as handy as that would be. Also, I thought I had heard some mutterings about a newsletter before, but I don't know who was talking about it or what they had in mind. If there are people interested in working on a newsletter, it would be useful to collaborate.

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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:41 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Northwest Burbs
Love the concept, but we cannot get people to clean up their messes when they are done for the night, how are we going to get them to read, much less contribute to a newsletter.

If the plan is to just make the board, or the few very involved people add newsletter to the pile of tasks they already do, that does not work well either.


I think that we should just stick to board meeting notes, and maybe just add a group communications section to that.

But again, I am one of 83, so lets see what other ideas come up..


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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:06 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Minneapolis, MN
I like the idea of a newsletter. A weekly/bi-weekly email makes sense. We could recap events happening on the blog, the forum and who said what on Wed. But, the big idea I push on my clients about email, its that it HAS to be relevant, timely, and useful. Most brand have a dismal time achieving those criteria. But I think we can craft something that fits the bill on all fronts. Plus add useful links to cool stuff and interesting tidbits found during the week.

Now that said, I guess I am throwing my name out there to do it, It is after all my profession.

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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 10
I think the main motivation is to have some canonical, blessed channel by which notifications relevant to the membership at large can be broadcast. "Does anyone care if I build a giant Borg cube in the metal area?" for instance. Right now, there's no decent way to make those kinds of notifications. If you don't read the newsletter, you don't get to complain when something announced in the newsletter is objectionable. Well, I guess you can still complain, but the complaint lacks the gravitas it would otherwise have had.


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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:41 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Northwest Burbs
I am not against it, and I hope it will work, I am just saying that it is an uphill battle.

Now having said that, I will see what I can do to contribute in some form.

Also we should make sure that on the outset that we have a way to post past issues online, a wiki page would be good, but did we not have a problem attaching PDF's to ours?


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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:06 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Minneapolis, MN
A good platform for email delivery is constant contact. We use its much bigger brother exact target to control subscription history and CANSPAM compliance for 10 clients and millions of subscribers. They (ET and CC) historically have good delivery rates and able to send rich media emails that dont show up as spam filtered content. I've hand-built newsletters, but coming from an unapproved sender/domain, they get filtered. gmails and other free services, tend to filter or flag them. As a non-profit, it $120 a year. I'd make the donation to get that started. just need to work with the admin to get a snapshot of the email list. We would be able to see who opened the email and which one went dead, and filter those out before the next send.

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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:06 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Since a number of us are heading to Detroit maker faire. I say this is a good place to start a newsletter. Its timely and relevant. And anything we find cool will most likely be considered cool to the email list. I plan to bring my go pro hd camera and record a walk through the exhibits. Giving the TC Maker community a "nerds eye view" of the Detroit Maker Show.

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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:06 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Ok to keep this ball rolling, I started a constant contact trial account to test with. Tentative first send 7/19. that way it goes out before the Wed open house. (and a subtle reminder that things are happening in the space.)

I going to start collecting forum subjects and interesting projects and get them on a send schedule so info goes out before an event, and hopefully a recap afterwards.
See a lot of good tidbits from the tcmakers twitter feed, so I am scrubbing that for interesting links.

But if you have anything you want to see in the newsletter, send it my way.


looking to do bi-weekly and see how that goes. Then the 2nd one (which will have a better delivery rate), will feature the Detroit makers faire

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 Post subject: Re: Weekly newsletter
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 657
Location: downtown Saint Paul
I think this is an awesome idea!

Especially as it lets me remove a languishing task from my "to do" list.

Thanks!

Riley

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