Is it time for a change in the way we use UWT Line?

I don’t know about you all, but I get literally hundreds of emails a day.  Of course, I have the curse of needing to subscribe to a bunch of library listservs, a techsupport listserv in Seattle, and UWT Line.

As I have mentioned to list administrators in each of those instances I think a lot of the emails we get via the various listservs would be perfect in a blog.  In fact, in a typical day of UWT Line emails I see more than 10 different classifications of news release or blog type information; everything from baby announcements, to article reviews, to an announcement that the STF committee is finally accepting proposals.  All of this data is important to someone but not all of the data is important to everyone.

For example, I blog (shameless plug) about UWT Library Information Technology over at https://litweblog.wordpress.com/.  Maybe you want to know what’s brewing in Library Information Technology but maybe you really don’t?  I don’t send updates via UWT Line because I think UWT Line ought to be used for mission critical communications only: the information that’s important to everyone.  If you want to know what’s going on in the Library IT world, subscribe to the RSS feed and get a daily (er, mostly) feed of what I’m doing, my thoughts on tech, education, and much more.  If you don’t… don’t!

The point I’m making is that if a lot of what was put on UWTLine was in blog form, the subscribers could have more control over the content rather than having content dictated to them.

So, I ask a question, is it time for a change in the way we use UWT Line?  Can we start developing more user friendly methods of communication like blogs and newsletters or should we plod along like this?

Obviously, we can’t have this discussion via UWT Line, because it’s not important to everyone, so where do we have these types of campus discussions?

If only this was a blog post…

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15 Comments

Filed under Technology Pulse

15 responses to “Is it time for a change in the way we use UWT Line?

  1. This idea seems too easy, too logical, and doesn’t appear to have any cost associated with it?

    I’m confused.

  2. Loretta Lukaczer

    Curtis is new to UWT so you have to excuse him. All I have to say is that if there’s a baby being born I’d like to know about it without having to enroll in a special information group! Librarians are way better at this stuff than most people!

    Tim will have to come over to my office and personally enroll me in any blog of my choosing if this idea passes. He already had to tell me how to get around the NY Times subscriber fees.

  3. Stephen Costanti

    Thank you for this creative solution.

    I have always been afraid to say anything because I did not want to offend the last uwtline poster and make them think that theirs was the bad post.

    I would not have been able to come up with this solution. Good job. The solution I always thought would work is an intranet.

    I hope this sticks or some improvement comes out of it. I think our campus has grown enough where everybody does not need to know what everyone is doing at all time but a feature like this will allow those who want to know more to have that available.

  4. Iris Marx

    This is cool. And I don’t really know a thing about blogs…I also don’t know what else is being done on this issue (which stems from the bigger issues of communication and information overload), but I’ve heard mumblings from various groups that something needs to be done.

    From a purely HR standpoint, my concern is whether people who NEED the information will get it, if they 1) don’t know that they need it; or 2) don’t want it. Our obligation is to provide the info and do our best to ensure that those who need it, get it. Surely, there are other (and probably more effective) ways to do this. We are open to suggestions!

  5. Jeaneen Bougard

    I’m a little torn. On one hand I love the idea of having a blog because I’ll be the first to say I’d rather not get 100 emails from uwtline about things that don’t apply to me, but on the other a lot of people just want information handed to them. If we change to logging in to view announcements, chances are people won’t do it and information will be delayed. Maybe there should be a trial run before we make any permanent decisions? I dunno.

  6. Here is how my former employer handled it… http://www.ewu.edu/gme

  7. I love all the great comments, keep them coming and maybe I’ll print them off and turn it in to Steve or whoever is in charge of UWT Line nowadays.

  8. Tracey Norris

    I subscribe to a birding listserv called (don’t laugh) Tweeters. I don’t know exactly how it all works but it’s also run on the UW’s Mailman service. What happens to the email after it’s sent though, is what’s most interesting and useful: rather than receive the emails in my inbox (I love this option), they’re posted to a website that’s updated each time an email is sent:

    http://www.birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/TWET.html#1208716174

    Our UWTline does have an archives website that I access every once in awhile if I need to look up a previous UWTline email (that I’ve deleted):

    https://mailman1.u.washington.edu/mailman/private/uwtline/

    but I like the way Tweeters arranges their messages because I can scan the email subjects at the top of the page (and in order of most recently sent) and click & read the ones I’m interested in.

    I’m not very familiar with blogs but every time I look at one I feel like I’m reading a book with no contents page. There’s a lot of text, a lot of reading, and no easy way to skim through. I’d rather delete UWTline emails after reading the subject line, than have to read & scroll & read through pages of texts posted by well-meaning folks. (this last part could just mean I’m a cluser about blogs – education about blogs, maybe that should be the first step?)

  9. Cheryl Greengrove

    great idea!!
    cg

  10. Michele Brittany

    I think this is a great idea! I would much rather filter what I’m interested in and not spend precious time on items that are not pertinent to my needs and interests.

  11. Tanya Ulsted

    I agree that uwtline emails take over my already overwhelmed inbox. I think a blog or the newsletter that Curtis Black posted would be a nice alternative. The one catch is that when uwtline emails are staring you in the face in your inbox you feel obligated to open them. If we moved this to a blog or online newsletter, would people remember to read it? Is there a way to get a weekly email reminder while we change the culture of information-sharing?

    Also, if Curtis reads this, who managed the online newsletter?

    Thanks and let’s find a better way to share info.

    Tanya

  12. Stephen Costanti

    On Iris’s point on people getting information, I am not sure people are getting anything now. The majority of people I talk to now seem to delete any uwtline without reading it. I have also been told repeatedly that “not everyone gets uwtline.”

    We also have a staff e-newsletter “Inside Track” that carries over some of these items. Maybe it should be incorporated into a long-term solution. It could easily become an online newsletter (blog). Articles are currently written by Jill in Public Relations.

  13. Pat Spakes

    I’ve been concerned for a while about the information overload on UWT line. We’ve been working on setting up an Administrative line that will come out of the Chancellor’s office, and we’re very close to being ready to launch it. Only a few administrators will be able to approve and post announcements that are made over that line, and it will only include “mission critical” information. UWT line will not go away. But, if we have a blog for nonessential information, Adminline for critical information, and UWT line for general interest, miscellaneous that people may elect to read or not, does that help solve the problem?

  14. Jill Carnell Danseco

    Thanks for the plug, Steve! 🙂 Yes, it’s true that we’ve been tossing around the idea of turning Inside Track into a blog. Western did it with their faculty/staff newsletter a year ago, and it’s been a big success: http://onlinefast.org/v4/

    But we have to answer some crucial questions first: Would our faculty and staff read a blog? Would they subscribe via RSS? And how would we promote it? These are just some of the things we’re considering as we move forward on this. Stay tuned, everyone!

  15. Stephen Costanti

    I know I could just walk down the hall and talk to Jill about this but I think it is important to ask/answer some questions in a public way. I think that creating more email lists is not necessarily the way to go. I think there is a market for information at UWT.

    I am a proponent of an intranet because I have seen how it can fulfill all of these needs and more. The best example I know of is the Pierce County OZ intranet. It has everything a person could want. It has news from the County Executive, information about events, training, job postings, suggestion boxes, kudos for recognizing employees, links to county websites and my favorite feature is a board that allows employees to share information freely within reason. It includes selling things want ad style, asking for advice to choose contractors, doctors, car washes, or whatever a person might need. There is no worry about promoting it because it has enough there to appeal to the masses of county employees. Employees are not directed to it, for many it is their default home page.

    I have also talked to Jim Posey about the usefullness of an intranet to share access to data and other institutional information needs.

    I like the idea of a one stop shop for all (blog or intranet) and reserving uwtline for only critical information. Adding email lines will only increase the unwanted email not reduce it, which as I believe was the original intention of this discussion.

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