As a marketing and website company, one of the main thrusts of our websites is to “get the message out there” – so we’re talk about defining the right information and then sharing that information, “broadcasting it”, as widely as we can.
But there is another way to look through the lens, and that is “access control”. Information management is not just about the information but also about managing who gets to see it.
We were asked if there is a way to provide some sort of “closed shop” where a controlled group of users could exchange comments and views without having to rely upon e-mails and without the rest of the world seeing the conversation. So we call this a “closed user group” or a “private forum”. You may have heard them referred to as a “chat room”, but this is more controlled. We can identify users by inviting them to login, and certain users can have the privilege or permission to use the chat room.
One organisation we are working with likes to keep its staff involved in conversations about what’s going on. An e-mail would be sent to all staff or a sub-group, and then people would comment using “reply-all”. Of course, this approach means that one’s in-tray rapidly fills up as the conversation gathers momentum. Once 2 or 3 such conversations are underway, the amount of e-mail traffic either saturates either the users or the network – or both!
Setting up a closed user group or a private forum prevents this happening and takes the pressure off your in-tray. The conversation continues in a shared space – which you can decide to look at or not if you’re busy. If you need an e-mail alert to let you know that someone has commented on the conversation, these can be configured.