In my current role I have quite busy arranging and facilitating online synchronous and asynchronous meetings with the Board, Committees, Sub-committees and organizations NARST works closely with. Part of my role has been coordinating events, managing resources, and training faculty to engage with a suite of communication tools that many members have not used. Through them and our emerging online presence, we have been able to accomplish many things along the way. For example, in addition to our collaborative tools we use within the organization, our Facebook page has been operating for approximately 20 months and has functioned as a supplement to the electronic listserve for announcements as well as posting updates of major calls, events and deadlines. We have also had members post projects, updates and even some job solicitations throughout the year. Remember, whether you are a NARST member or not, all one needs to do to comment or post is to first “Like” the Fan Page which can be found by typing “NARST.org” into the Facebook search or simply clicking on this Facebook link or entering the URL http://tinyurl.com/narstfacebook. Here is an interesting set of facts regarding our Facebook followers:
- 63% are women
- 77% are between the ages of 25-44 years old (only 7% of the FB users are older than 54 years old)
- More than 50 countries (The second largest population of followers outside the USA is Turkey)
- The highest number of hits daily is 9 am EST and the maximum hovers around 700 daily visits throughout the week and is growing.
- Our documented followers have increased over 90% since last Summer.
Currently only a relatively few have posted comments. We believe as trust is built and more social media savvy members do this, the impact will only grow. You may have noted from the Facebook Fan Page or even the Annual Program download page that there is now a NARST YouTube Channel where we have hosted the last two years’ s NARST Annual Conference Keynotes and some highlights. There is surely potential to the opening up this channel to the entire membership to submit videos central to the NARST mission. The Policy and Procedures Committee is taking up the issue of copyright and publishing permissions, forms, and other legal matters which include the collection of and distribution of photos from the Annual Conference. While I took care of each of these details for the speakers at the Annual Conference because I was the one behind the lens, it is important for all authors to understand the rights and permissions of speakers before posting any content / media online. Anyone who wants to post or share photos or video to our YouTube channel must be able to legally demonstrate permissions from the content authors to publish. It can surely be an impactful venue and we should think as an organization how we can best use it for passing our message to the general public. Many more attendees downloaded the fully interactive iBook format as their Official Annual Conference Program this year. It was a demanding and intense process to go from a purely formatted PDF to ePub and iBook format and we continue to learn a lot. I must thank the President, Bill Kyle, PODI, Toni Sondergeld, and the other individuals helping the Program Committee to put together such an awesome program to work from. I must also thank Kelsey Greene and Michael Radosta at UB who I paid to help me edit and complete it within the short deadline. I could not have done it in the 10 day timeframe without their help. Finally, I must also thank everyone who downloaded it and offered feedback for its improvement from the survey on the final page of the program. We are pursuing additional kinds of conference support but we must continue to seek legal clarification regarding the use of abstracts, papers, and other information through an “app” environment. We currently can legally only offer papers and abstracts online for a week prior, during, and a week after window of access. While the program itself can be made available year round, its scholarship legally cannot. I appreciate the gracious response from the membership and attendees to the Annual Conference for our efforts. We are working to collaborate on file formats and lengthen the amount of time between the Final Program compilation and the first day of the Annual Conference for a better final e-product. Again, thanks to all who were involved in compiling the official program who did the larger job of organizing, compiling, and formatting the program for such a big and complicated event.
We will be hosting an upcoming event next month surrounding the review NARST Bylaws. In case you missed it, Mary, Valarie, and Mei-Hung mentioned in in their “Message from the Presidential Team” update. Stay tuned to the NARST web page, NARST Facebook page, and the NARST Listserve for details of how to connect and interact with this important process.
The NARST Board, Presidential Team, and Committee Leadership is excited about upgrading our tools of communication and working towards a more open and collaborative environment. We value your feedback as well and hope you will participate in efforts to provide feedback and guidance that will direct our future efforts.
NARST, Director of Electronic Communications