The white-pages directory may have been relegated to a museum, but it is still hard to beat the convenience of having a complete printed list of your community. With your walking-fingers you could find almost anyone’s home address and phone number. It was a very transparent, opt-out system.
For schools, clubs and community groups, the emailed or printed member list has been a labour-intensive pre-requisite for community communication. Typically it is out of date as soon as it’s collated – and it’s not a simple matter to compile, segment and distribute. Replacing them with an interactive and personalised digital version is an attractive proposition – though it’s been hard to achieve. The following describes some strategies to create your own community directory using Geddup.
1) The opt-out Community Directory
Replicating the white pages opt-out system is blindingly easy on Geddup – all organisations have an ‘Everyone’ group which by default includes all members of that organisation. Administrators can choose to enable sharing of all contact data between members of that group. Each individual member can then choose whether to share their data with the organisation. That’s all there is to it. This simple approach enables every member to have access to an automatically updating, interactive contact list for the entire community – but it is a little one-size-fits-all – and if someone stops sharing data then the administrators can’t see it either.
2) The opt-in Community Directory
An alternative strategy is to create a new “Community Directory” group – where anyone who opts to join the group understands that they will be sharing their contact details with everyone else on that list. The organisation can then use the Everyone group for administration purposes only – it can choose not to display it to members at all, or to only display administrators and managers of the group, or even to list all members of the organisation by their name only. This last option is an interesting permutation as while one member cannot see another’s details unless they have joined the Community Directory, they can see their name and send them a message via Geddup.
3) The personalised Community Directory
But schools and clubs are more than a single member list. They are typically multi-roomed manors replete with guest wings, upstairs/downstairs, ballrooms, libraries and more. So while each member belongs to the organisation as a whole, they can also belong to teams, classes and special groups like staff, managers, and volunteers. Sometimes it is not appropriate to share contact data across the whole community. Sometimes it’s important that groups within the community can easily find and communicate with each other. In these circumstances, the organisation must be able to create new groups. And this is where it can get complex.
Geddup offers an incredibly flexible system for managing this complexity. To illustrate consider the following setup for a school.
Example #1 – your primary school
So if I am a parent of a child at the school…
- I will be a member of the Everyone group – the school administration can send me messages and can see all my details (assuming I have shared them with the school).
- I will be a member of the Class my child is in – I will see the names of all others in that class. I will be able to send them a message but I will not be able to see their details.
- If I join the Community Directory, then I will see everyone else in that group. If there are members of my Class that are also part of that Community Directory, then I’ll be able to see all their details via the Class too.
- If I join a volunteer group, like a Sports Team, I will be able to message and see the details of everyone else who joins that Sports team.
Example #2 – your basketball club
So if I am a parent of child playing in a team:
- I will be a member of the Everyone group – the club administration can send me messages and can see all my details (assuming I have shared them with the club).
- I will be a member of the Team my child is in – I will see all the details of all others in that team.
- If I am also a Coach of my child’s team , then I will see everyone else in the Coaches group including all of their details.
- If I were a Manager of my child’s team, then I would see the details of the clubs administrators for the managers group.
These are just two examples, the permutations are many – as determined by the options that the organisation has for each group:
- Who can join – by invitation only or open to anyone
- Who is displayed – everyone, managers and admins or no-one
- What is displayed – all details or name only
Our challenge as we move to the virtual is achieving the same ease of access as the printed list offered. It’s made difficult as we now want more control – maximum flexibility with minimum fuss. In short, we’re looking for a single phone-book with our own personalised and interactive contact list with whom we can share as we see fit.
This was not possible before as each community that we belonged to had their own member list. And then that member list could be divided again between teams, classes or interest groups. In reality each organisation had many phone-books rather than one big doorstop.
Geddup comes at this challenge from the perspective of enabling sharing with the communities to which we belong. We offer a way for organisations to more easily and effectively interact with their communities. We enable individuals to create a single, personalised and interactive contact list for organisations that are part of their community.