In the somewhat distant past, RC Calvía International used to have minutes of the weekly Monday meetings. As far as we know, this was a unique feature of our club; it is certainly not common Rotary practice.
However, due to our distinctly individual situation of being one of only two English-speaking clubs in Spain and the only one in the Balearic islands, we enjoy the benefit of many visitors every week. Equally, a few members are only semi-resident and when ‘at home’, they want very much to still keep in touch and up to date with RC Calvía International events. Weekly meeting minutes served this purpose.
Following suggestions, it was agreed the club should move away from these tedious weekly minutes with their dry, formal tone. Clubs news and notices would be better distilled into a monthly newsletter. The concept was to enable us to stay in contact by reading a more magazine format rather than the newspaper format of the minutes.
The newsletter quickly proved a firm favourite. It was quick to read, had plenty of photos, yet still carried, tucked away, information for those unfamiliar with the club – information like where and when we met and contact details. Added to this there was a ‘Dates for your Diary’ section providing a useful aide-memoir of upcoming events. It seemed all in our club garden was bright and rosy.
As the months went by, the initial tsunami of news and articles soon dropped off to a trickle. So much so that, in spite of regular promptings at meetings and our S@A Geoff’s valiant efforts in his weekly request for attendance information, on more than one occasion we finished the month with almost nothing to go into the newsletter.
When it comes to producing any periodical, there are one or two vital precepts. First, news must always be fresh. Nobody reads a newspaper or magazine which prints the same material for multiple issues. Next, it must be reasonably regular and reliable.
Back in the old days before refrigeration folks used to go to creative lengths to preserving the over-abundance of fruit and vegetables of late summer in order to see them through the winter and early spring. Today, refrigeration and the advent of swift international transport permit the luxury of fresh strawberries throughout the whole year.
As with this much-improved supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, a steady supply of fresh RC Calvía International club news must evolve and adapt. As the editor, I concluded it would be much more helpful and productive if members, friends and visitors were more regularly kept up to date with our affairs (maybe not the best word!) and the club events.
People without a connection to the Internet and an email address are about as rare these days as an amicable solution to Brexit. We need to take advantage of that. Also, although Frank and Monika have valiantly kept the club website above the waterline for some while now, it has often been at significant risk due to lack of new and interesting content. And so, I have spent the last month or so building this new and modern version here.
It is designed to do three things:
1) Give information on who we are plus when and where we meet. Changes in content are instantly updateable – enabling a simple edit of our twice-annual change of meeting venue.
2) Provide all the latest news and events in chronological order – the freshest stuff first.
3) Allow those who show an interest in Rotary, our club or its activities to sign-up to the newsletter and be kept informed.
There is an added feature of reflecting our Facebook-feed so Frank and Monika’s efforts are also included. Later we can swiftly add an ‘Upcoming Events’ diary and possibly many other useful sections.
However, its greatest asset is that it answers those two niggling and rather negative aspects of the monthly newsletter. As soon as an event or article is written, it can be published. A few moments later all who are subscribed get a short email with an intro-paragraph, picture and link. Clicking that link takes them to the full article which may have attached extensive picture galleries and much more – even a poll voting system to garner readers wishes and preferences.
The possibilities are substantial, and we can see what develops. News will now get promulgated in short, and hopefully entertaining spurts. This results in a regular drip-feed of information instead of an intermittent and unpredictable avalanche every month or so. Such a process much better serves to keep our club, endeavours and projects in regularly the public eye — anybody showing interest can sign-up and gets fresh and immediate feedback.
Initially, only RC Calvía International club members have been subscribed, but nearly every webpage carries a swift and simple form for anyone interested to register for automatic emails advice of fresh news. Every email that goes out carries a simple link for those who have changed their minds and no longer wish to receive our news. Click it and you’re off the list.
Lastly, each article published, this one included, has a final section allowing readers comment. You are invited to use it by offering your thoughts, opinions and suggestions. Any feedback you do submit will not immediately appear as, for obvious reasons, it needs to be checked for mischievous content before being published. Anybody reading an article may comment, members and the public alike. As there are those on the web, commonly called Trolls, who seem to derive a perverse pleasure by posting provocative comment just to upset other readers, they need to be monitored.
I guess it takes all sorts… 🙂