Venn Librarian

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Bad practice

Posted by lpearle on 12 November 2012

We call it practice because we’re not perfect yet, right?

The other day I was with my aunt, helping her with an errand.  As we drove, we talked about a variety of things.  Now, I’m not the most computer savvy of my family (my cousin probably wins that title, but there are others between his level and mine) but I may just be the most socially networked of us all.  The talk turned to Facebook, and my aunt wanted my help with it.

My aunt is very socially active and wanted to do more for the people affected by Hurricane Sandy.  She’s a member of a very active synagogue, a very socially networked one, at that.  The information she wants to access is apparently only available via Facebook, not on their website or other communication tool.  And therein lies the problem: a private person, my aunt doesn’t want everyone on Facebook to be able to message her – she may not even want to “friend” her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews (let alone sister and brother-in-law).  Given Facebook’s privacy issues, I’m not sure she can do that.

Several of my friends and other members of my family are equally loathe to get on Facebook, and few see a need for Twitter.  They’re amazed and confused as to why I am on either, and why I need to be.  Even more, however, they’re angry that increasing numbers of organizations are only posting information that way.  One high school friend refused to contribute to the alumnae newsletter because it was going to be published solely online (a one-time deal before going back to print issues).  To me, it’s bad practice: if you want to communicate well with everyone in your constituency group, you need multiple venues for presenting that information.  Facebook’s great – ditto Twitter – but what about e-lists? your website? an old-fashioned newsletter? Doing so can only alienate some of your supporters, and you’ll never know how much you could have gained from them.

The lesson: don’t disenfranchise some of your supporters by limiting the ways in which they get information to a few social networks… do remember that not everyone prefers to be ‘out there’ in public.



One Response to “Bad practice”

  1. Wendy said

    I have had this same issue with our professional organizations — I do not think that a service to which you have to be logged in (like facebook) is the proper venue for disseminating association information.

    Your aunt could, of course, do what so many of our students opt for — create a dummy email to use only to access fb for her congregation activities. But I do agree that the people who opt for this communication channel are disenfranchising more people than they might guess.

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