Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, the officers of the CA Clarity Global User Community board conducted a weekly call-in meeting. What did today’s call entail? Discussing the agenda for our upcoming webcast. What was my role? Communications via email to the 3,000+ group members. Thus far I’ve been doing a good job with the mass emails and content but the last two comms I’ve sent out had a type-o. I listed the event as Thursday January 26th, 2011 when if fact it’s actually on a Wednesday. DoH! A nice Homer Simpson moment for me.

It got me thinking about peer reviews and the value of signoffs in general. It also got me thinking about value as it relates to effort. Even though I have a role with an expectation, it’s possible to make minor mistakes. To my knowledge this is the first communication screw up I’ve made in the community I support but unless we (or I) adopt a more formal review process, it won’t be the last. Lets take a look at our current process.

First, I utilize an html based template provided by CA Technologies and customize it with Adobe Dreamweaver. Based on the webcast content, I add profile pics of the speakers and text with regard to their background, information about any contests we’re running, and generally discuss the agenda and why our members should be interested in attending. My goal as a communications officer is to send out the first notification three weeks prior to the event. In some cases, we have not yet settled on the agenda, guest speakers, topics, etc, which makes the broadcast message timeline expectation difficult.

Peer Reviews: Once I’ve customized the template and proofread it myself, I blast off an email to a ‘sample’ community that I’m a member of. I love having this ability because it enables me to receive the email in my inbox the same way any group member would.  I review it for a second time and then share it with other community officers. Once approved by the president, I normally fire it off.

Value vs. Effort: Who’s reading my communications? I don’t understand why in such a large community, I didn’t hear about my type-o until a week after the first broadcast.  Only following the second email did someone from the CA community team let me know I had an error. Is it wrong to expect that one of the 3000+ members would contact me and notify me of this issue? Of the 3000+, are they even reading it in the first place?

With regard to peer review, see any problem there? What is our review process? Should we go beyond spell check and carefully inspect these communications? Of course we should, so how do we do it, and what can we do to make it accurate and efficient? The onus is on me really. I should always send out the communication draft to each board member for review. They should then be expected to return the draft with their comments by a certain deadline. Then again, does each board member need to be involved in what technically is my job?  I’m most likely over-thinking this but I’m curious what other community managers and communication officers do in mass email scenarios.  I can go about governing our broadcasts in multiple ways but I ‘d rather hear about what you do in your online community.  If you’re involved with community management and have any advice, please comment.  Thanks!