Newsletter going away???

Discussions about the Newsletter Tool at LDS.org.
scubadox
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby scubadox » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:05 pm

Good points. I think it was underutilized for several reasons.

1) Training (it had alot of capabilities, but not many took the time or received training to know how to use them)
2) Reliability (it had some quirks that were never quite ironed out)
3) Notifications (it had no way to notify someone if new information was placed there - it required you to check it)

skiddlyarcus
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby skiddlyarcus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:23 pm

Agreed.

Those same quirks exist for all other file sharing services that might be utilized as a replacement:
1) Training - this will be the same for any service - a ward/stake that chooses to use some other service will have to train users
2) Reliability - I never noticed any unacceptable outages to the newsletters. Just normal maintenance.
3) I can't think of any file storage service (e.g google drive/docs, iCloud drive, OneDrive) that gives notification for new files. The point of a file sharing service is that you know where to look when you need something. File repositories are like file cabinets - you just need to know where to go when you need a document. In those cases where people need to be notified, we could do exactly what everyone does as work ... they blast an email saying the new docs are available.

As we are talking this through (publicly) I think I'm coming to realize that the newsletter site really isn't a newsletter site as much as it was is a file repository for wards and stakes. That's the functionality that I would like to retain on lds.org so that we have authenticated access only by members of the ward/stake.

scubadox
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby scubadox » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:34 pm

We used the newsletter as our Ward "website". We used it not only as a repository, but also had Ward history information, photos, links to videos and recordings of meetings, reminders of upcoming events (i.e., Trek), and wished we had a way to notify subscribers that new information was posted. Kind of like the calendar function was supposed to do (but I couldn't ever get it to work). Regarding reliability, we had days when the upload function wouldn't work (sometimes lasting for a week), and the edit function would stop working sometimes once something was uploaded. We're really going to miss this, and as we try to migrate to a Facebook private group we're finding that many people don't use Facebook. So now what?

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wrigjef
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby wrigjef » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:47 pm

Our Bishop has asked me to research options for a ward Facebook page. In my resaerch I have considered substitutes for both lesson schedules and newsletters. It seems that a closed group on Facebook is the best option so far. Once one is set up, it takes some looking but, there is a "files" section. You can upload files the ca be retrieved by users. I plan creating a document, or using one that has already been created, with embedded links for lesson schedules and posting it. I'll also post any newsletter type documents. On the Facebook front we will post activities and allow members to contribute and comment. Not sure if we will have the entire ward council be moderators/admin to r just the bishopric

lajackson
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby lajackson » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:00 pm

wrigjef wrote:Our Bishop has asked me to research options for a ward Facebook page.

Has he asked you to consider any options for those who do not use Facebook and who never will, but who are still active in the online world?

I agree that some sort of private or closed group is preferable in Facebook, but keeping track of members in a transient ward seems problematic to me.

We are looking at actual website options, but there are a ton of issues with that idea, also.

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wrigjef
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby wrigjef » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:10 pm

The reality of it is that Churches decision to eliminate lesson schedules and newsletters simply leaves certain members out. Developing your own website that follows the Church guidelines just seems like a bunch of extra effort to satisfy a small number of people. I know our ward will never pay for hosting for an unofficial website that is unofficial and follows the restrictions directed by the church.

lajackson
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby lajackson » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:23 pm

wrigjef wrote:The reality of it is that Churches decision to eliminate lesson schedules and newsletters simply leaves certain members out. Developing your own website that follows the Church guidelines just seems like a bunch of extra effort to satisfy a small number of people. I know our ward will never pay for hosting for an unofficial website that is unofficial and follows the restrictions directed by the church.

I agree with all you have said, except that in our ward that "small number of people" is more than 100. We are working with them to see what online locations they do use, and to see if there is a possibility of making any of them work.

We are also looking at old fashioned email with attachments.

I need to speak with the ward that flashes the Sunday program to the members when they enter the building. Perhaps we can also flash a newsletter and lesson schedule to them at the same time.

mtwerner
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby mtwerner » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:05 pm

I can only say "amen" to the above. I've used the Newsletter to post a variety of information and documents for our stake, such as leadership newsletters, curriculum schedules, high council speaking assignments, welfare assignments, ward meeting schedules (not that easily found, by the way, when you want to see all of them), Teachings for Our Time lessons, stake goals, plus forms for requesting keys and reimbursements. While much of this is not confidential, it's also not for general public consumption, so I'm struggling with where I can put such materials in a responsible manner.

mevans
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby mevans » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:12 am

Here are a few more confidential items we have on our newsletter:
- We post our emergency communications plan, zones in the ward, zone captain contact information. That isn't something I want to find on Facebook.
- There's a list of equipment in the library and PDFs of all the manuals. I suppose if I publish it on Facebook, thieves can plan in advance what they want to target when they break in to our building.

I've also posted many other things on the Newsletter.


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