Encouraging Members to Use Unit Websites

Share discussions around the Classic Local Unit Website (LUWS).
dmaynes
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Postby dmaynes » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:07 am

RussellHltn wrote:You're referring of course to this policy. Yes, you figured out where I was heading.

I do think that's a valid issue that needs to be considered. The policy doesn't say "blog" but does prohibit "website" and "email groups". Given the limited popularity of blogs back then, I think it would be easy to explain why they were not explicitly mentioned. Or perhaps it was felt that "website" covered it.

If it hasn't already, I think the issue needs to be reviewed by the ward leaders with all the relevant policies in hand. If it were my place to decide, I'd give thumbs down on a blog outside of LUWS.


I agree with you. The LUWS is limited, but it can be used in a moderated blog-like manner if a few individuals are given administrator access to the LUWS. So, while a lot of blog functionality may be absent, the ability to post and share information is present.

There is no policy that prevents a normal member from creating and maintaining a personal blog. In fact, we are encouraged to be involved and to communicate our standards and perspectives to all the world.

The policy statement doesn't indicate why ward websites and e-mail groups should be within the http://www.lds.org umbrella, but blogs have all of the same potential problems such as insecurity of personal and private information, and potential confusion about "official" statements of the Church.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:25 am

Just some personal thoughts...

Again, the decision is really up to local leadership interpretation of the policy letter linked to by RussellHltn. I think the main gist of the letter is that the Church doesn't want Units officially represented in an unofficial manner. Even if the Elders' Quorum Presidency doesn't view the blog as anything official, if it is announced in anyway during Quorum meetings, it could be viewed by attendees as an officially sponsored site representing the Quorum (or even the Unit). Anything said on that site could be viewed as sanctioned by the Unit and consequently the Church.

dmaynes
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Postby dmaynes » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:53 am

mkmurray wrote:Just some personal thoughts...

Again, the decision is really up to local leadership interpretation of the policy letter linked to by RussellHltn. I think the main gist of the letter is that the Church doesn't want Units officially represented in an unofficial manner. Even if the Elders' Quorum Presidency doesn't view the blog as anything official, if it is announced in anyway during Quorum meetings, it could be viewed by attendees as an officially sponsored site representing the Quorum (or even the Unit). Anything said on that site could be viewed as sanctioned by the Unit and consequently the Church.


I think there are also liability issues involved with members participating in websites or e-mail when the security of those systems is breached. In this case, the Church may be held liable for a security breach when the member participates by virtue of a calling. In fact, I think this is probably a larger concern.

In the context of a blog, it would be easy for members to forget that the blog was viewable by anyone on the Internet and share personal information that exposes them or their family to an assault. On the other hand, the LUWS is protected security safeguards, including the agreement that every member accepts to not share or disclose information from the LUWS.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:40 am

Continuing the personal thoughts line ...

mkmurray wrote:I think the main gist of the letter is that the Church doesn't want Units officially represented in an unofficial manner.


There's also the issue of "scope". Talks end at the walls, handouts don't travel very far and bulletin boards can only be seen in the building. But while the web is a very accessible medium, we tend to forget that the message is escaping it's intended domain of authority and it's publishing to the world. That's a domain reserved for the First Presidency.

That would be my primary rational for thumbing down a blog (or most anything else) outside of LUWS. LUWS provides the controls to insure that it stays within it's intended area.
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SingerGuy
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Encouraging Members to Use Unit Websites

Postby SingerGuy » Fri May 29, 2009 11:23 am

I was just called for the second time to be a stake webmaster and to help a stake "roll out" the use of LUWS as the official means of communication within the stake. I just met with the stake presidency and outlined what I did before, and what I would like to do in this stake, and received their enthusiastic support.


  1. I will get 5-10 minutes in the next Bishop's training meeting (June 7th) to let all of the Bishops know we are moving forward and that this is a "top down" leadership push.
  2. I will have an evening training session with every ward administrator to make sure they actually know how to fully use the LUWS and how to do things like finding forgotten user names for members and maintaining leadership directories. I will also emphasize the importance of 48-hour response to any posted item. I will log on to each Ward's site at least once a week (at first anyway) and verify that there are no pending items that exceed this timeframe.
  3. I will have another evening training session with the ward and stake activities people and the building schedulers and we will address the specifics of resource scheduling. When my membership records arrived in this stake last fall the first thing I noticed on the site was that they had no resource calendars defined. I am going to move all building scheduling off of paper and onto the web site. (This was the most exciting aspect for the stake presidency.)
  4. I will visit each ward in our stake during the third hour (I do all the wards in one building on the same Sunday to minimize my set-up and travel times) and will do a hybrid Powerpoint/Live Demo of the full web site. The Powerpoint presentation shows them how to sign up for a new account. I used my daughter's info in my previous stake and used Photoshop to blur out the personal info so others couldn't see it, but show step-by-step how to create an account. I then go to the live site and show them all the sections. I particularly show them how an event is submitted to the ward calendar, then show my email so they can see that I receive notification. I go back to the green admin screens and approve the event, changing a deliberate typo to let them know that I "clean things up" and make things conform to a basic style guide. I then jump to my daughter's email and show them the approval email, and then back to the regular web site so they can see it posted on the calendar.
When I went through this process in my previous stake in the Pacific Northwest we doubled the number of registered users, and the utilization of the site went up substantially, based on feedback received in the units.

I'm excited to get to do this again. It is a lot of fun for me to show the members how easy the site is to use, and how much information is there.

fraserredmond
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Postby fraserredmond » Sun May 31, 2009 2:26 am

Would it be possible to get a copy of any of your notes or documents? (by PM if you don't want them too public.)

Here in New Zealand we just got approved for access to LUWS in the last week, and I've spent the weekend playing around with the sites. I'm due to give a presentation to our Stake's Bishops meeting in a fortnight too, so anything you can give as a starting point would be a great help!

heyring
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Ward Registrations

Postby heyring » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:17 am

We have had some good success in our ward. Being the largest Ward in our Stake, Our total membership (this past Sunday) was 536 members.

Our attendance this past Sunday was 350 members.

We generally run a 50% to 65% attendance rate.

I have been the Executive Secretary and Ward Web Admin for 3 1/2 years.

In that time, our Bishopric has pushed registration several different ways to include:

Bulletin Announcements
Posting Registration Process on the Bulletin Board
5th Sunday presentations in front of all of the adults on the big screen
Firesides with registration demos
Frequent "hounding" of members to get registered
Telling members and auxiliaries that if their event isn't on the Ward Website calendar, then it is not officially scheduled.

And my personal favorite :) When members ask for a ward list - any member of the Bishopric kindly replies "it's online, would you like me to help you get registered?"

Our efforts have gained us over 120 registered members, with the list growing every week.

While we are always looking for ways to improve, the single most effective method has been the fact that we use the Ward website regularly for news updates, activity and announcement emails, etc..

Hank Eyring


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