Salutations to our splendid fellow regency-lovers! We here at the Oregon Regency Society’s non-existent headquarters would like to share with you some of the new changes you may have noticed over the past few months.
We have had a change of leadership which has resulted in a smaller group and has helped actions be taken faster when decisions are needed. It also means we have fewer woman-hours with which to do it all.
Two of our biggest changes you may be able to see right away are this new website and that we are using the Facebook PAGE rather than the Facebook GROUP, and these are for some very good reasons.
The easier to address of these is our new website. Our previous one was very convoluted, and it was difficult to find information that was needed. Too much was on there, and often links would go to defunct sites. All in all, it was just too overwhelming. We needed something simpler, something where we were easier to reach (the new Contact tab at the top is rather nice) and could better present information. We also wanted something that we get with this site: A mailing list. Before, if you wanted to be on our mailing list, you had to email a member of the leadership, be added to a not-well-kept list, and when someone had time to send out information, which was rare to never, hope to have all the current members of the list. This didn’t go well.
But now! Now we have this nifty little widget on this new page, down at the bottom of every page, where you can choose to follow this site and automatically get updates. When we post events, news, auctions, or anything else, those who follow this site will get it automatically. This means you are less likely to miss information! Most of the information posted to Facebook will be posts here that are automatically published there, which means that, whether or not you are even on Facebook, you’ll get the same information quickly and reliably. Facebook might have more reminders of some things, but you’ll still have the pertinent information.
Speaking of Facebook, we have made the decision to use the PAGE rather than the GROUP (pages are run by various organizations and businesses with more structure to make sure that the organization of business’s announcements are easy to see, while groups are more like loose forums with less structure). When the ORS was newer, pages didn’t have the option for members to make posts anywhere, and so the two were set up. Fewer members earlier on also meant that finding what you were searching for was easier. But as time has gone on, information has become fragmented between an avalanche of a group and a confusing old website.
Since most banter has been on the group, the best way to try to alert members about events was to post there. This created a massive problem. New chit-chat posts buried important information, and we had a problem of members missing posts about events, and only finding out when photos were posted afterward. How could be make sure everyone has a chance to hear about events when our posts were drowned out by the masses? Understandably, this has led to many members feeling left out and hurt. Yes, it’s true that there’s an events tab on the group, but realistically, how often do people click that tab? If you missed the post about an event, you wouldn’t even know. The group makes the ORS more of an online social club rather than an in-person (as much as we can) social club to get together and enjoy reenacting our fantasy version of a couple centuries ago.
To combat the problem of information being victim of an avalanche, we decided to use the PAGE instead. In addition to events and other announcements being front and center, you can still banter there. You can still make posts and share all the fun stuff you find. We would absolutely love for the masses to share everything and chat and be willy, informative, inquisitive, etc. Write a post in the “write something” box, and it posts to the Visitor Posts section on the righthand side. Between the options of going to a group, seeing banter, and clicking an events tab, or going to the page, seeing the events, and clicking the visitor posts, the latter better suits the purpose of our group. Chatting is still there. It’s just not burying announcements and the information that we need to reach our members.
Further, the ORS page is now officially verified with Facebook. What this means for you is that our posts will now start to appear more often in your news feeds, and higher toward the top. This is a third, albeit smallest, way to increase visibility of our events and to help reach all of you. The more interaction with this page, such as our valued members both near and far posting to this page and continuing conversations, our page ranking will go up, and our posts will be even higher and more frequent in your feeds.
We are aware that there is concern about what will happen to the Facebook group. The group isn’t going anywhere. It’s going to remain as it is, but we will cease allowing new posts soon. The old posts will absolutely remain up. There is a lot of information there. You can still reply to those posts, still look back through the ORS’s history. New posts will just need to do to the page. Speaking of older information, we will be going through the old website’s blog and moving informative and sentimental posts to the new one. Our goal is not to lose information, new or old, but to make presenting information more reliable, and easier for you to access.
Yes, there has been the question of why not have both page and group. Well, many people encounter the group first, and unless we monitor every single new follower and make sure they also follow the page, then we run the risk of remaining in a situation where we have fragmented members with many relying on a page where events are buried. This is detrimental.
A very recent example of how the group isn’t helpful is our recent auction. We’ve had members express dismay that they missed out on that because they didn’t know. They didn’t see it on the group, and don’t follow the page (yet). The auction was announced at least once in the group, but new posts pushed it down and caused many members to miss seeing it. Subscribers of this website and followers of the page saw it much sooner while others didn’t see it until spotting posts on other people’s walls about it. The group didn’t succeed in informing those members. The page, and emails to the 545 subscribers of this blog, did.
We want our members to have reliable information faster, and we now what hasn’t worked well for a long, long time. We’ve had a broken system, and are trying our best to fix it. Continuing to do what hasn’t worked isn’t going to fix anything. Please give us a chance as we try this new method of website posts that automatically email to our subscribers and post to the page that is now verified and will show more often and higher in your news feeds. And though we won’t have posts to the group much longer (we are on moderated status right now so we can reach out to those who are trying to post with the information needed about the use of the verified page), we hope you’ll continue to see that group as a resource about our history, be inspired by the photos and memories of past events, and start posting to the page. Together, we can make this organization more robust than ever, and if these changes result in more reliable information for both members on Facebook and members who aren’t through our website subscription, then we will all win.