GUI Bytes

Electronic Distribution of Newsletters, part 1

perhaps itís a case of old dogs and new tricks, but I just have to have printed material in my hands.

part 1

part 2

part 3

 

Some time ago I was asked to lead a workshop at the Great Lakes/North Central Bi-Region Conference, which took place in Indianapolis this past August. Seminars and workshops donít look like much work, at least when they are several months off, and I accepted the invitation. Fortunately, I had a topic in mind that was related to a lot of recent activity - the electronic distribution of newsletters. And I even had a catchy title - ďElectronic Newsletters - the Right Answer to the Wrong Question?Ē

By now you may have called your editor to see how my name got attached to this column. After all, Iím one of those pesky people who have been extolling the virtues of e-mail, the Internet, and all things electronic. I havenít changed my mind, but I do realize the need to use the appropriate method of communication.

Today, when we want to pass along some information, we have a lot of choices: e-mail, fax, telephone, letter, package, newsletter, postcard, carrier pigeon, and smoke signal (environmental impact statement required). Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and no single method is right for all purposes.

My concern is that electronic distribution is not the best method for newsletters. I had no evidence to support this position, except for the way that I read newsletters and magazines. Perhaps itís a case of old dogs and new tricks, but I find it difficult to read for content on the computer monitor. I just have to have printed material in my hands. Having hardcopy also allows me to take the newsletter along to read in spare moments.

The most common reason given by chapters for using electronic distribution is saving money. Obviously, if the chapter doesnít have to pay for paper, printing, and postage, it will save money. Of course, if members print the newsletter so they can read it, the cost of printing has not been saved, but only transferred to the members.

As I looked at the issue, though, it occurred to me that the chapter newsletter is one of the basic member benefits. Members may choose to not read the newsletter, but we should not introduce any obstacle that would stand between them and the information that is in the newsletter

© 2001 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, swolfe@bwbr.com 
on the web at www.CSI-MSP.org 
October 2001


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