April 6, 2011

Website Wednesdays - Discussion Groups

Each Wednesday (or as close thereto as our schedule allows) we will highlight a particular feature of NAFCM's website worthy of your review. By highlighting specific components of our website, we're hopeful you'll become better equipped to take full advantage of all the resources we've packed into our mighty site. Once you've checked out this week's feature, we invite you to continue clicking and discover even more!

This week's "Website Wednesday" feature: Discussion Groups

[NEW: Join the Conversation in Four Easy Steps!]

For over a decade, NAFCM has hosted the national community mediation conversation on our listserve.  We've had thousands of voices join the often lively e-chorus which readily shares resources, support, and wisdom with colleagues throughout the field.  Today, the list has over 700 individuals representing all aspects of community-based conflict-assistive services.  It's hands down the best, most broadly focused listserve for those seeking to engage the community mediation conversation.

Today, we're pleased to announce some exciting new changes to how you and the community connect.

First, we're moving NAFCM's listserve to a new, more robust platform.  Our current listserve is limited in how participants can engage content and how managers can customize the overall experience.  NAFCM's new listserve platform, hosted by Google Groups, is a feature-rich platform that combines traditional listserve functions with the interactivity of an online meeting space. Using this new system, you will retain the convenient direct-to-inbox messaging you've come to enjoy, and gain more easily customized message delivery preferences, informative participant profiles, accessible conversation histories, and many other features.  The of breadth of these new features will help ensure our community's conversations not only continue, but flourish!  

As our e-dialogue expands with the latest technologies, we're pleased to announce yet another exciting addition.  NAFCM is now hosting a wide range of discussion groups.  From topical focuses, such as Transformative Mediation and Restorative Practices, to targeted geographic groups such as our new state-level lists, you can now join the specific conversations of greatest interest to you!  Using the same accessible Google Groups platform as our national list, you can now easily connect with colleagues across the state, around a topic, or along professional roles. These new focused lists are great places to connect with your closest colleagues, support counterparts, share local resources and training announcements, and advance your specific corner of the field.  With over 60 targeted discussion groups already open and more on the way, you can find your niche and get connected today!

Finally, we are pleased to offer the ability to create your own custom discussion group.  Using our simple online form, you can begin working with us to create and hold your own tailored e-space. Connect your program's volunteer mediators to your own custom listserve.  Create an online working group to advance a new service area.  Or propose a new topical area to expand our conversational horizons ever onward.  Whatever your focus, we'll work directly with you - providing the platform from which you can create new communities.

How you Benefit:
  • Get Up-to-Speed & Stay Up-to-Date.  As colleagues' and your own interests and roles change over time, these new community conversations will be continually archived to ensure new participants can get quickly caught up on group history, interests, and priorities.  This is especially important for custom lists connecting your state's Executive Directors or other groups with regularly changing memberships.
  • Engage How & What You Want.  Using NAFCM's new discussion platform, you can customize your experience to satisfy your specific preferences.  Choose to receive all messages immediately or in a convenient email digest format, or keep your inbox free by reading group messages directly online.  In addition to delivery preferences, you can choose to engage only the specific conversations in which you're most interested.
  • Access Collected Wisdom...All of It.  Discover what's been shared before, easily restart and update conversations, and find exactly what you're looking for.  Archives of each group's members-only discussion archives are indexed by Google's powerful search engines, allowing you to access the collected wisdom of our field no matter when it was shared or when you joined.

We're thrilled to offer so many exciting outlets to further connect our field.  Enjoy the conversation!

In community,
Justin R. Corbett
Executive Director, NAFCM

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