The SayWhatClub (SWC) is a wonderful resource which provides an avenue for folks who share a commonality...hearing loss. The founders of this organization have done themselves proud by bringing many of us together via the Internet to share good times and bad. In spite of the growing pains of SWC, it can now boast with several lists consisting of several hundred members from the U.S. and abroad.
Having said this, many of you may or may not know what goes on behind the scenes in order for the SWC to function smoothly. There are three primary committees that serve the members of SWC. First, the Hospitality Committee (HC) which introduces new members to respective list(s), and gets them started on their way. The List Representative Council (LRC) which provides a very important function by introducing hearing loss topics of interest and helps maintain order within each list. They also contact members that become "renewal status" to see if a member may need help renewing their membership. Finally, the OutReach Committee (ORC), which is what I would like to share with you.
The OutReach Committee, better known as ORC, serves an important function by contacting members that have let their SWC subscriptions laps to delete status. Basically, this is an exit interview, so to speak. The ORC chairperson receives delete notices from the Hospitality Committee during the course of each day. These notices are compiled and sent out to ORC committee members every Monday of each week. From there, committee members send out a letter/questionnaire to find out why he/she has left their respective list. Given the answers to the questions from respondents helps enable SWC to evaluate the needs of members.
Also, another function of ORC is it broaches the question if one would like to have his/her subscription renewed. Sometimes a member may have missed the renewal notice, and will want to have their subscription renewed. Rather than sharing with you folks all the questions that are ask in the questionnaire, I thought it would be more prudent to share with you the common complaints from members that have left in the past. There are two primary complaints, too much mail, and the subject matter has no relevance to hearing loss. An alternative to the "too much mail issue" is to go on digest. This is where a member can change their subscription settings to receive all mail in one lump in a twenty-four hour day. Some members like this and have adopted this setting, while others feel it is hard to reply to a particular thread of interest. Furthermore, others may feel it still doesn't solve the too much mail problem. The second problem is the subject matter has no relevance to hearing loss and/or the subject matter may not pertain to a member's particular aspect of his/her type of hearing loss. This is a difficult issue to solve because many veteran members like to use the list as a means of chatting. A member may have been with SWC for a number of months or years and have received the information they need regarding coping skills, hearing aids, CI's, ALD's, etc., in order to function in everyday life. During this informational seeking period a member may develop many friends. As a consequence, a new member may come along and feel intimidated to find their list to be full of jokes, one-liners, and subject matter with no relevance to hearing loss given the open forum format. Also, another problem is some members may get the information they need and move on. It is very difficult for the SWC to tell its members to limit the amount of mail as well as keep the topic of discussion centered around hearing loss. Given this, these are some of the challenges SWC faces in their never-ending pursuit to keep growing. Simply stated, it is difficult to satisfy the needs of all.
Since SWC is an open format, there will be posts with no relevance to hearing loss at times. This is a positive note, as it helps create a more relaxed environment for the members and helps reinforce the feeling that we are not alone.
Nevertheless, it is important to point out what brought us all here in the first place.... our hearing loss...that's the common thread of the SWC family. There are many of us here that have been long time members and are here to help the needs of others. Many of us have been through thick and thin dealing with the challenges associated with hearing impairment, and have gathered a wealth of information from others by asking questions and sharing frustrations. Many have developed wonderful friendships through the SayWhatClub and will use the list as a means of maintaining that relationship by chatting on the list. Until one asks the questions to help themselves, one may find themselves reading irrelevant material on SWC. I cannot emphasis enough to all of you, particularly you newbies out there, to get in there and seek out information because there are folks willing to give advice and share their frustrations with all. To the newbies, "You're not alone!" And for those that have been members for a while, stick around by making a difference and help others in need. They need you! More than anything, it is a rewarding experience to help others to help themselves.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of the Hospitality Committee? Read on and find out!
The SWC Hospitality Committee is a very important committee, if not the most important one after the Board of Directors (BOD).
The Hospitality Committee (often shorten to HC) consists of 18 members of SWC with one member being the Chair, one the Co-Chair and one the HC/BOD Liaison. We also have one long-time member who we call our Historian who keeps us informed on events that have happened in the past.
All new member requests come to the Hospitality Committee either through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. These requests are handled by the Chair or Co-Chair and are then assigned to the other HC members on a rotating basis. The HC member who is assigned the new member request will be sponsoring the new member for the first two weeks to assist the new member when and if needed.
The HC member sends out welcome letters and information telling all about SayWhatClub. Once the HC member receives pertinent information from a new member, they then sign the new member up for a list that they feel suits them best and sticks around for a while to make sure the new member receives help as needed.
The Hospitality Committee on an average receives 30 to 40 requests to join SWC per month. We have a HC member assigned to each list as List Techie to help all members change their settings for mail or investigate why a member may not be getting mail. In addition, there are several HC members who are List Managers and receive the error reports or bounces on members about their mail being rejected. 99% of the time it is usually a problem with the members ISP (Internet Service Provider).
All HC members are regular members just like everyone else on SWC and are often seen posting on various lists. We all make errors like everyone else does! LOL! In fact, we have what we call Hall of Fame of HC Horrors full of stories of our "muckups"!!! We have fondly been named "The Chain Gang" by one of our long time HC members and often joke about going to "Boot Camp" where there are no virtual margaritas or shellfish/lobster served. LOL! Our HC/BOD Liaison member keeps the keys, which means they are either swallowed or hidden so no one can escape the HC! Lots of fun and joking around among the HC members!
If a member has a question, he or she can always contact the HC or any HC member and get an answer. If we don't have the answer, we try our best to find someone who can help.
I think I speak for all of us on the HC when I say it is very rewarding to know we can help members find the support and help they need by placing them on a list they will feel comfortable with and have fun as well.
SayWhatClub separates us from loneliness, isolation and a sense that we can't do anything because of our hearing loss. There are several ways to be brought together on SWC. One is through the email lists; another is through "flings" (small get-togethers) and the yearly convention. A third way and one I will discuss will be on the chat rooms.
SayWhatClub has 3 chat rooms that are open 365 days a year and 7 days a week. We have moderated chats, scheduled chats and chats that are not scheduled.
Why are the chats different from the email lists? One is that on the email lists you have to wait for people to reply. In a chat room you can have instant replies and thoughts going back and forth on a topic. Some people are shy to responding on a list with 70 to 80 people on it but feel more comfortable with just a few people. After coming to the chat rooms a few times one feels more comfortable to being open and sharing.
People ask me "What are the other lists like?" and I respond with they are basically the same but it's the people on each list that make them different. One way to get to know people on the other lists is to come to the chat rooms, whether it is a scheduled chat or just popping in.
We have a weekly chat on Cochlear Implants for those that are looking for information. Yes, we have a CI list for those interested, too, but some people just prefer one list. So the chats can provide both a time for questions and answers and also support for those getting ready for the implant and those that have the implant.
We also have other chats on various topics. Some that we have discussed are Meniere's disease, Tinnitus, Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), hearing dogs, and others.
If you go to the chat rooms and no one is there, send an email to your list and tell them you are there and which room you are in. Then wait and some people should show up. :-)
Also, sometimes Committees have meetings in the chat rooms. We ask that you respect these meetings going on and try one of the other chat rooms.
If there is a topic you would like to discuss in the chat rooms, please contact me and I will see if we can have a chat on that topic. If there is a day you would like to have one, let me know and I will send an email to the lists to join at the time you request.
If you need help getting to the chat rooms either via the web link or mIRC, go to the members’ pages or you can contact me and I will be more than happy to help you.