As long as I’ve been supporting faculty in some way or another, I’ve struggled to make sure that everyone has access to good information. There are many channels for communicating with people, from face-to-face to web sites to Twitter. The problem is there’s no one preference for everyone, and so trying to figure out what works is hard. I like to automate stuff, so that when I see an article that’s interesting, I bookmark it and then that sends it to Twitter or a blog or a Google Doc (thanks to IFTTT). The struggle is figuring out where people will look. Will they read the email? Are they visiting that website you put up? And sure, there are analytics tools that will tell you, but it’s still hard to know.
And I’m not talking about crucial information. People will seek out information they need. I’m talking about getting information to people that will make their lives easier, make them think, or help them improve professionally. I email when I feel like people really need to know something. I maintain a website of resources, but at this point I have no idea if anyone is looking at it. And people across an organization can get frustrated because people aren’t paying attention. And I get it. We’re all busy, and we’re all just trying to get through the day, but at some point, don’t you have to think, hmm, maybe there’s a better way to do this? Or maybe there’s a place where the information I need can be found?
Personally, I Google a lot. I follow certain Twitter hashtags and have a collection of blogs I read via Feedly. I take ownership over what I feel like I need to know. But not everyone does. Some people are waiting to be told. Or some people just don’t even know that there are things they could know. And those are not the people who are going to follow your Twitter account to see what juicy tidbit you’ve uncovered. So I’m going to experiment with some things. Nothing is perfect, but maybe I can get close.