by Virginia Simpson-Young, Communications Subcommittee Convenor, for Bulletin 8 of 2020 (October 2020)
Members of the subcommittee in 2019-2020 were Ashley Brinson, Tarny Burton, Bruce Davis, Sarah Fogg, Carole Herriman, Allan Hogan, Lyn Milton Virginia Simpson-Young, Peter Thorogood and Phil Young,
During the past year, we continued to coordinate and oversee the Society’s various media – the Bulletin, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, YouTube, Update Emails to members and Eventbrite. We have also sought to assist the Society’s management committee and subcommittees with their communications.
Management: The Subcommittee was very saddened by the death of Peter Thorogood who has been responsible for the website since its creation. As you can imagine, Peter’s death has impacted the ‘back end’ of the Society substantially. Fortunately, he left things in good order and provided documentation for his successor. The gods were smiling on us because, at the time of Peter’s death, the subcommittee’s new(ish) recruit, Tarny Burton, was ramping up her role as website content manager. Tarny has been involved in the Society in her professional capacity over the years; first as the designer of the Society’s current logo and then as the designer for most of the 50th anniversary material. At the Festival, Tarny offered to continue her involvement with the Society in a non-professional capacity and joined the Comms subcommittee. Being a web designer as well as graphic designer, Tarny has been able to take over the bulk of the work that Peter used to do. Phil Young has been there as back-end back-up and a few of us are upskilling to be able to upload material as needed.
Website upgrade: The comms subcommittee has been threatening to upgrade the website for some years; and we’re now well and truly into the process. The website upgrade is being managed by Sarah Fogg, without whom there would probably have been no progress at all. We’ve completed a consultation stage in which we spoke with a range of users and potential users. This led to some guidelines and principles for the functionality of the new website. The next step has been to create a draft structure for the new website. Basically, the new structure will make it much more intuitive to use – particularly to find things. The draft new structure will be put to the management committee soon after which we can begin the design and development, resources permitting.
50th anniversary: Glebe Society Community Festival
It was an aim of the 50th anniversary Festival to make all the material available online. This includes the exhibition content, photos and videos of events and so on. Progress towards this aim has been glacial, but has been happening nonetheless. The starting point for this has been collecting into one location the huge amount of material generated by the Festival. We needed to do this for not only the website, but for the Archives. This task is largely complete.
Uploading all that material so that it is quick to access and pleasant to look at is not as simple as some of us first thought. Now that Tarny has access to most of the material she is designing a part of the website for this material. This is happening at the same time that we are working on the website upgrade, so the task is somewhat complicated. However, it’s looking good and members can rest assured that the Festival material will be on our website soon.
The Bulletin continues to be main means by which the Society communicates with its members. Content for the Bulletin is provided by management committee members and a handful of regular contributors who are not on the management committee, including Lyn Collingwood and Rodney Hammett. Photos are often provided by Phil Young and Phil Vergison and me. Of course, there have also been occasional contributors throughout the past year. If you are interested in contributing something to the Bulletin, don’t hesitate to do so. I don’t think I, as current editor, have ever knocked back a contribution.
Martin Lawrence retired as one of our proofreaders, but the stalwart Edwina Doe has continued. A callout in the Bulletin netted another three proofreaders, Emily Booker, Sybil Jack and Wendy Relf. Wendy has withdrawn due to a change in her work circumstances.
As members will be aware, COVID-19 has impacted how the Bulletin has been distributed in 2020. We have kept you up-to-date with the situation. We certainly hope our mail-out team can start meeting again soon so distribute paper copies of the Bulletin. When that time comes, if you would like to swap from paper to digital or vice versa, email us to let us know (email@example.com).
Each month, the most recent edition of the Bulletin is made publicly available on our website and (intermittently) promoted via the Facebook page and Twitter. Copies are always placed in the Society’s archives and sent off to various dignitaries such as the City of Sydney Councillors. Copies are also provided to the local library, State Library and National Library.
The Society’s Facebook pages are also maintained by the Communications subcommittee; these are the main page (www.facebook.com/TheGlebeSociety) and the Glebe Island Bridge page (http://www.facebook.com/GlebeIslandBridge). Due to workload on subcommittee members, managing our Facebook presence has been patchy. If you would like to help out with Facebook, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Facebook following has increased to 1,232 from around 1,100 last year. It’s always interesting to look at which posts were most popular. Our post in May about the massive overdeveloped of the ‘Blackwattle Bay Precinct’ proposed by Infrastructure NSW (think 45-storey towers) reached over seven and a half thousand people. Our second most popular post was about Antoine (of Bellevue Cottage fame), crash-tackling an armed robber at Baker’s Delight in February. And the third most popular post was a photo by member Ted McKeown of Anzac Bridge under construction way-back-when. Interestingly, these three posts cover a good range of the Society’s concern, planning/infrastructure, local community and history – with a dash of environment mixed in.
As usual, posts generate discussion, particularly on controversial topics. Facebook is also a means by which members and the public can contact the Society and this occurs quite frequently. Often contacts have a family history flavour, but sometimes they provide useful information to our members, which is passed on.
The Glebe Society Update Email
One of the subcommittee’s roles is the compilation and distribution of the Glebe Society Update emails that are sent on an irregular basis to those members who have provided us with an email address. The Glebe Society Update emails include breaking news that can’t wait for the next Bulletin and updated information on important issues that the Glebe Society is working on. Over 98% of our members have email and are sent the Update email.
As well as the website upgrade, the Comms subcommittee will be actively working to ensure that important digital communications are archived properly. In the past, significant contact to and from the Society were by letter and these were dutifully kept by the Secretary for the archives. Now most is via email, including letters sent as email attachments. Other important documents that may never make it to paper are minutes of the meetings of various committees within the Society. Lyn Milton, our archivist, has been gently pushing the Society to systematise the digital archiving process for some time.