February 28, 2005

Dead before it started

In an E-Lab team meeting the other week, we talked about how we communicate with the outside world and let our customers and our colleagues know what is going on within IT Service.

We don't seem to be very good at letting everyone in the University know what we are up to. Sure, we sent out the odd newsletter or emails to departmental IT contacts and keep websites of varying quality/detail for most projects, but there isn't really an up-to-date single point of contact for details of upcoming projects in IT Services.

To someone like me, the obvious answer is a blog of course. Makes so much sense you might think. In a fit of enthusiasm, I created blogs.warwick.ac.uk/itsprojects/ and wrote a brief introduction as to what to expect to find there.

That was 3 weeks ago. Today I de-activated it (with no entries). It never got off the ground because I realised (or more accurately, John and other senior management realised) that you just can't get people to write yet more stuff about their projects. Maybe we're doing our colleagues an injustice by not even asking them, but it just didn't seem worth it.

I had intended to ask various people from around ITS to write something about a project once or twice a month for the blog. If this was staggered out, there would be new content several times a week with a bit of luck.

It should have been obvious really, if you look around at our project pages and our other attempts at "what is everyone up to" type pages, they are not kept as up to date as they should be (I'm as guilty as everyone).

I've still got this lovely image of everyone subscribed by RSS or viewing a feed on the ITS homepage of regular project updates from across the department, but everyone is just toooo busy. Should I have given up so easily? Was it a bad idea in the first place? Who knows.


- 7 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Steven Carpenter

    I have an RSS reader on my PDA; it checks a list of feeds every 15 mins for updates and displays the the latest entries on my Today screen. If you, the E-Learning team, Chris, John or anyone on my list of blog feeds makes an entry, provided its connected I know about it fairly quickly. I've found this really handy, particularly for team entries, but the key difference is that information is 'pushed' to my device, rather than me having to check.

    28 Feb 2005, 11:54

  2. I think that is why I was so keen in the first place to do this in a blog, people can consume it however they like and it would be available in one place rather than hard to find and scattered about all over the ITS website. If only everyone had their wireless RSS'd up PDA's :)

    28 Feb 2005, 11:57

  3. People who are interested in things will know where to look anyway, people who aren't fear computers and the less they know about them the better it is in their opinion, much to their detriment. Myself, as a student, I remain impressed with the amount of effort ITS put into maintaining the operation of university systems. Warwick has one of the best wireless/network deployments I've come across in institutions/offices and very good availability. The VPN isn't always reliable for using POP3, but apart from that there isn't much wrong.

    I think any projects from ITS are likely to be discovered by people enquiring or your release of them. RSS feeds again will only work with people linking back to what they are interested in. So I wouldn't worry overly about it!

    28 Feb 2005, 12:20

  4. Robert O'Toole

    I suppose that I am one of the people who should have been contributing. Sorry, I just forgot to do it. I do think it would be valuable. But maybe should have an editor who commissioned entries and prompted people to write. That's an approach that i'm encouraging academic groups to try.

    28 Feb 2005, 13:05

  5. Don't worry Rob. I actually decided never to ask anyone to contribute.

    I agree that if there was an editor who encouraged people to write rather than just leaving it to be done when they happen to remember would be more successful.

    28 Feb 2005, 13:09

  6. You need more people, more resources, more… money!

    01 Mar 2005, 15:45

  7. Show me the money!!! :)

    01 Mar 2005, 16:16


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