May 11th, 2007

wile e.

Boulder, boulder on the ground, tell me something real profound

The NAUMS* Finance Committee (and eventually, the NAUMS Board of Directors) is having a discussion about our newsletter. One interlocutor was pumping for eventually replacing our paper, snail-mail newsletter (which we can only manage to get out twice a year these days) with an electronic version. Here is my latest reply.
If you want to maintain "eyeball loyalty" (that is, make the web a successful communications tool), then you have to update content -- frequently. Like, weekly AT LEAST. Less than that, and I don't think your web surfers will keep checking back.

If you change content less frequently, you can, of course, e-mail news -- either as messages or as attachments. But mass e-mailing = spam, and many people get fed up with unsolicited stuff jamming their inboxes. Still, special announcements can be made this way.

Paper is old-school, but reliable. And it works for a certain segment of the population -- especially aging desk jockeys who pay for Life Memberships. They like PICTURES, as well as short articles that take no great attention to read. Color is important. And they have disposable income which they just might use to support various causes. Once somebody buys a Life Membership, it's not all about what it takes for us to "service" them; they should be seen as a source of donations to other projects and mission causes. A newsletter that emphasizes stuff you can do -- like, send twenty bucks to do X -- is important, I think.

The bottom line. People read newsletters in direct proportion to how many pictures there are, how many names they recognize, and whether there is color on it. People check websites in direct proportion to how often the content changes (though pix and names are important, too).

So, here I'm asking about your opinion. What kind of news/house organ/blog stuff do you read? What makes you read the paper stuff? What makes you read the e-stuff? If you were a member of NAUMS or some other org, how would you like to receive your news?

*NAUMS = National Association of United Methodist Scouters

File this away

Oh, dewy was the morning
Upon the first of May,
And Dewey was the Admiral
Out in Manila Bay;
And dewy were the Regent's eyes-
Them orbs of royal blue-
And do we feel discouraged?
I do not think we do.
—Popular U. S. gloat of 1898.

I was watching a show on the Spanish-American War in which this was quoted. I had heard (and read) it before, but couldn't have laid my hands on it. So I just googled it up and I'm putting it here where I can find it again.

So I'm not making a point. Just doing some filing.