So it seems to be a popular monster and one for which I receive many compliments (“you should send this in for a community newsletter award or something!”). I can’t help but feel proud and accomplished. But I had an epiphany one morning (at 2:30 AM, don’t ask) as I was editing one of the issues of our 35-page behemoth of a “newsletter” for my local twins club – WHY AM I DOING THIS? I understand that at 2:30 in the morning, one is prone to sleepiness, despair and downright crankiness…but really. In this day and age of social networking over virtual communities like Facebook or MySpace or blogging and the like, do we really need such a monstrous publication as a vehicle to distribute information to our members? Well…hmmm…no.
Were these thoughts coming from anyone else but me (as the newsletter co-editor this and last year), I’m sure that some members might take offense. Some might even come to my aid, thinking I was taking such thoughts as personal insults to my work. Au contraire. There is one thing all my friends know about me and it’s that I’m practical. I’m a realist. I don’t like duplicated efforts. I don’t like expending effort when unnecessary. If there’s a faster, easier way to do a thing – I’m in.
Our club newsletter is simply a method for getting information out to our members. And in this century, there are a *ton* of other methods for doing that quickly, easily and far more efficiently. Over time, all of us club newsletter editors have made their own marks on the newsletter. I think that my greatest contribution has been the inclusion of a *lot* of photos from issue to issue of members and their children at various club functions (who doesn’t like to see their name and children in print)? We’ve also added a Family Corner for funny family stories, a Recipe Corner for yummy recipes that your kids will eat along with stories of how to get dinner on the table, Dad’s Corner for the dad’s perspective, a Philanthropy Corner to keep members apprised of everything we’re doing in giving back to our community, etc. etc. etc. You can sorta get an idea of how this newsletter has taken on a life of its own, growing beyond manageable proportions.
Several members have told me that they joined the club because of the newsletter (oh, how that sentiment just warms my heart). And thus our little newsletter of magazine proportions has become quite an effective marketing tool. Unfortunately, our club is and always will be a volunteer one. And nobody can expect (least of all, me) another volunteer to take on such a monster. So, let’s break it down.
As I look at the content we include, much of it would be far more valuable if it was available immediately, as opposed to the every-other-month publication it is today. Timeliness is not its forte. Moreover, I am certain that most readers skip to the articles and sections that hold particular interest for them and scan over the rest. That then begs the question. Why not provide only those sections to those readers that are interested in them? Well, you can do that in the latest social communities (like Big Tent). That’s why there are forums, blogs and all sorts of capabilities. Time to start taking advantage of what Silicon Valley’s latest and greatest has to offer.
So now I see the light. I see the future of our parents of multiples club. We are on Big Tent. We have message forums. We have photo sharing. We have a marketplace. There is no newsletter (OK, well a *much* shorter one…10 pages perhaps?). And life is good.