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Communication is extremely important within TRMN. This goes for both internal chapter communication as well as information needing to go into, and out of the chapter. There are many modes available to you in regards to communication. This is including, but not limited to, Forums, Facebook, and Email. Keep in mind that forum use is mandatory for all official modes of communication, but you are free to use any medium necessary to ensure that word gets to your members.
Admiralty Orders 1703-03 and 1711-02 both stipulate mandatory usage of the forums for all official communications of membership within the organization. 1711-02 further goes on to make it mandatory for a member of each chapter command triad to post monthly. While this may seem like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you’re already posting a monthly newsletter, you can copy-paste the text into the forum, fulfilling the requirement easily. If you aren’t doing a monthly newsletter, all you would need to do is create a thread under your ship’s folder that you post “This is the monthly ship chatter, any questions comments or concerns?” or something along those lines. Even a simple post for promotions, or happenings on the ship, or events nearby would count, that way it’s easy to keep involved with what’s going on with the chapter.
The forums are also designed to provide an easy archive of FAQs across all bureaus, fleet echelons, and even organizational level announcements. It is strongly urged that members scan these before posting or posing a question of their own, as it may have already been answered in a previous thread. There is a search function available so members can attempt to search for their question before asking it as well.
Within the forums, items need to be kept on topic. One of the benefits of the forums is the ability of TRMN to moderate it. They can ensure posts are relevant to the organization and can shuffle posts around if they’re found to be off-topic to the sub-forum or thread they’re found in. This added benefit makes it an easier archival tool for past official communications and allows members to look things up more easily than trying to scroll through months of Facebook posts.
While not official, Facebook is a powerful tool for planning and documenting events. As of right now, every chapter is allowed to have a ship page, set to closed. The group calendar and event planning are great tools for giving members easy access to a list of events at a glance so that if a member wants to plan one, they can work around, or in conjunction with, existing events.
When using Facebook, keep in mind that there is not a set filter for content. You may want to make it so members need to allow a page admin to approve a post, or you may need to monitor the page to make sure that conversation is on-topic and civil. Some things you may want to consider when administering your Facebook Page:
- Keep it on topic – Make sure members are posting things relevant to the chapter, and when responding to another member’s post, relevant to the initial post. This keeps things on topic and ensures a valid discussion is being held by the members.
- Keep politics off of the chapter page – This is similar to the last point, but probably even more important. This is one of the items that lead to the current policy of the Forums being the official information gateway for inter-club interactions. If you see politics leaking into your chapter’s page, remove them quickly.
- Ask before adding – This can mean two things. First and foremost, ask a member if they want to be on the page before adding them. Some don’t want to be part of a group for many reasons, so it’s easier to ask them first to avoid any problems. It would be good to develop this policy with the rest of your crew as well, so they don’t add members without their knowledge or consent. Secondly, this can also apply to when it comes to posting on Facebook, you may feel it necessary to make it so a member has to let a post be reviewed by a page admin before it goes on for the rest of the members to see.
- Cross-post from the forums – If you see information relevant to your crew, or even post something yourself on the forums, cross-post that information into Facebook. Again, it’s important to stress that forum use is required, but that doesn’t mean you can’t disseminate that information in other mediums. This helps ensure that your crew members who dislike the forums are also getting important information.
Emails are a great way to know that the information is going out to each individual in your chapter. This can ensure greatest dissemination when you go to send a monthly newsletter or email a list of monthly activities. This can also be a great way to send out important messages or deadline reminders to the crew when it comes to competitions or award submissions and nominations. Remember to not overuse this method though, as it may lead members to block or mark the messages spam. It is recommended to limit this method to two-to-three times a month, as sometimes even weekly can seem like spam.
The easiest way to email the crew en masse is to copy the roster from MEDUSA, drag and copy all the email addresses only, and paste them into the BLIND CARBON COPY. We say the BCC as there are members who probably don’t want other people to know their email address, and to provide some privacy when it comes to contact information. It is also recommended that you put the Bosun and XO’s email addresses in the CC place (ship assigned emails are preferable) to show the membership on your chapter who their command team is, as well as where to contact them.