Monday, December 04, 2006

Brown bag lunch #2: Creating & Using RSS

I continued my RSS tirade in the office last Friday with our second brown bag lunch (see the first), Creating & Using RSS. My push is probably getting annoying, but again, if we’re planning on offering this service on our website, I’d like for everyone to know how they work.

We hope to do some cool things online and staff involvement will be key. And, it’s not just necessary for program staff; I think it’s equally important for development and finance folks too. Sure, it’s relevant to our outward communications, but I’d also argue for the importance internally.

Streamlining our in house communication is a big issue, like many organizations, companies, associations, etc. How we manage documents, engage one another with our individual work, and collaborate on projects will greatly impact our success conserving rivers (um, so me think).

I guess that’s why this redesign is a big issue as we have the opportunity to expose the entire organization to a few new communication tools. If the redesign is phase 1, then the next step for us will be addressing how we as an organization communicate with one another. I’d love to know what non-profits have begun looking at their inward communications as well as dabbled with the idea of blogging, wikis, feeds, etc.

Anyhow, more on that later, back to the RSS brown bag. Eleven people showed up (one caller) to the brown bag lunch. We explored many aspects of feeds from what they look like to how they can make us more effective communicators—or the thought goes.

The biggest and best ‘ah, ha’ moment was the realization that one can subscribe to Google News tags which translates to no more visits to the site or hourly emails. The message of the day: information control—you get what you want, not what is sent.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of confused looks…hopefully, it was a healthy amount of confusion. But sensing the 11 attendees as our new feed evangelists, I followed up with an email inviting them to a free lunch where I would come to their desk and create an account, identify feeds, and subscribe them to the feed(s) of their choice. I’m not above a food bribe, but beer may work a little be better (note to self).

I don’t have my 40-slide PowerPoint presentation in a web format, so if anyone is game for a read, just let me know and I’ll send it to you separately in an email.

I’m not sure what out next brown bag lunch will be, but thinking about wikis. Any ideas for our January brown bag lunch? Would blogs be a better topic as a follow up to RSS?

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