Info distribution

Problem

How to share one-way information with a group?

Note this is distinct from documentation, which is better organized thematically, eg READMEs, and discussion, which benefits from concision and dynamism, eg Slack.

Solution

Blog

I generally prefer “pull” over “push” wrt info distribution. For example, I prefer to search for what I need when I need it rather than attend broadcast meetings, subscribe to updates, etc and then filter content.

Note this only works in cases where I have an idea about what to search for. Someone new to a group, may benefit from the push model. Code for America projects, for example, have highly variable team composition, so periodic broadcasts are helpful.

In this context, I find a blog format helpful for a few reasons:

  1. A blog has a static element, ie each post is effectively a web page, which is relatively easy to read and index, so I can search by text
  2. A blog is also time-ordered, so I can search by time
  3. Each post has a url, which I can include in a broadcast, for folks who prefer that model
  4. Blogs are structured for distributed contributions, ie author, editor, etc roles are mature
  5. Labeling content is a mature idea, so I can search by label

I’m a fan of pushing all group updates through the same blog to maximize discovery, eg see the internal blog for product changes, employee policy announcements, etc.

When composing posts, focus on meaning rather than raw data, and tie interpretation to goals for consistency and coordination, to increase signal/noise ratio.

Newsletter

If we are going to broadcast, I prefer an aggregation. Ideally, this could simply be a generated summary, eg blog posts from the past week.

Newsletters form an effective structure for a meeting agenda, eg our group meets once a week and reviews changes (as reflected in the newsletter).

Bathroom flyers

This is low tech, but scalable and effective. Install a flyer display bracket in bathroom stalls and post group news there, eg the newsletter, a particular blog post, etc. Assign an evangelist per gender per building/floor to update the flyers periodically.

Aside: task delegation seems to be a good use of the push model.

Meeting room flyers

Like flyers in bathrooms, flyers in meeting rooms also have a captive audience. 5 tips for inclusive meetings is a great example.

Feedback

Thoughts? Suggestions? Hit me up @erikeldridge

License

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and code samples are licensed under the MIT license.