This guide is here to give an overview of the channels we've decided to adopt and to give you some tips for how best to communicate with the network.
These comms channels are hosted by the Enspiral Foundation and are open to all contributors (or wider). If you are a contributor but lack access to something, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Channels and Tools
Loomio - Group Decisions
Our tool for decision making. The assumption is everyone will see everything.
Posting on Loomio in the main Enspiral group sends a notification out to everyone (nearly 300 people around the world), and so should be used judiciously. Tends to get noisy if we over-use it.
Feel free to start subgroups on Loomio if you'd like a more targeted collaboration space with a subset of Enspiral people.
The issues list and the waffle board are different views to the same information. Posting and commenting on one will show up in the other. If you sense something could be improved or have a topic that you feel needs discussing but won't lead to a group decision in the short term start a discussion here.
Slack - Daily Realtime Comms
Daily chatting, realtime comms, quick questions, interesting links. There is a #watercooler channel for general discussion, and many channels for teams, projects, locations, and topics, or you can create your own!
Chalkle - Events/Classes
Enspiral's Chalkle Channel is where events and classes are posted that everyone is welcome to attend. If you'd like to host one, feel free! They can be free or you can charge. Chalkle events are visible on the public internet, but only 'followers' of the channel (including all contributors) will get a direct invitation. More info.
Cobudget - Collaborative Funding
Our tool for budgeting and financial decision making. Enspiral's discretionary budget is distributed using a democratic process. All contributors are welcome to raise buckets (funding requests) and comment on buckets. If your message is about spending collective money, it probably makes sense to post it here as a bucket or comment.
Enspiral News - Broadcast
Every two weeks, a newsletter goes out to all Enspiral contributors via Mailchimp. It has info from ventures, media coverage, updates on decisions and happenings, and inspirational animal gifs.
To get something published in News, email email@example.com or post in the #enspiral-news Slack channel. If you want to reach the whole network with non-urgent infomation, this is the way.
Email - Everyone at Enspiral is entitled to an Enspiral email address if they need one to represent Enspiral to clients or the public. Email is great for one-on-one or small group correspondence, or one-way announcements. There are more details on the Google Apps page.
Calendar - Great for your own planning and for private events and meetings where you have a specific guest list in mind. If you want to put out an open invitation, use Chalkle instead.
Drive - We use Drive (Docs, Sheets, Forms) extensively, but we're moving all 'official' documentation off it and onto GitHub. If a team you're working with uses Drive, you'll be invited to the relevant folders/docs.
Facebook - Casual Asynchronous Comms
Public Facebook page - Updates, news, and links relavent to Enspiral followers. This is a one-to-many channel. To get something posted here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private Facebook group - A space for Enspiral contributors to share links, updates, ideas, and discussion. This is a many-to-many channel, where everyone can post and reply.
Enspiral has a publication on Medium called Enspiral Tales that many people are actively contributing to. We welcome content from anyone in the network. Find out more.
Comms Tips and Guidelines
We operate in an attention economy. Getting the attention of people at Enspiral is expensive! Here's some advice about making it count.
This is YOUR Space
We are all greatly enriched by all of our engagement. Your voice is welcome. Your perspective is valued. Your interests are interesting. The best thing you can do to give and receive value is participate.
Pick your Channel Wisely
Know the various channels available and consciously decide where to post. Within a given tool, post to the right group or channel:
- Topics requiring a group decision and affecting everyone go on Loomio
- Issues, improvements and general discussion go on Github or Waffle
- Events go on Chalkle
- Broadcast announcements to all contributors go in News
- Casual realtime communication goes on Slack. You will reach whoever opts in to read when you happen to post.
- Other casual communication goes in the Facebook group - again you'll reach whoever opts in there.
- Public info and links go on Facebook and Twitter
- Long form public sharing goes on Enspiral Tales
Messages relevant only to a limited group of people should be emailed directly, or posted in a specific Slack channel or Loomio subgroup.
Put all the relevant info you can very concisely in the subject line (or discussion title on Loomio). Messages on Loomio trigger an email hundreds of people, many of whom will look no further than the subject line. Who, what, where, why, when.
Key Details in the First Message
Put all the relevant details in the body of the message, Chalkle event description, calendar invite, etc. You often only have one shot to reach people. Most will never click through to look at followup comments. Make sure the key info is in the initial post.
Include Links, Make it Easy
If you want people to click through to other content, include links! People will not go searching for facebook events, google docs, etc, on their own. Put everything they need right in front of people.
Tag Specific People
If a post is relevant to specific people, tag them (on Slack, Loomio, Facebook) to help them notice it's there. People will often respond directly to stuff they are tagged in, which can increase engagement. Don’t post a comment that is just tagging a name though - that means the person will get an email notification that simply says their name. You want them to get a message too.
Be Very Sparing with @Channel tags
In Slack, @channel or @everyone notifications will send notifications to everyone in that channel - please use this sparingly for very important or time sensitive information, especially in large channels. Don't use @channel in #watercooler unless it's something that literally affects everyone.
Get Permissions Right
If you’re linking to something on Google Drive (or any other site), make sure you check the sharing settings before you hit send! It’s very common to be given a link only to be told “you don’t have permission” when you try to view it. Most people won’t come back and try again, so get it right the first time.
Include All Context
Write every message as if to someone who has never heard of it before, especially network-wide messages. Don’t assume people already know any context, since your audience has diverse levels of engagement. We want invitations to engagement to be as accessible as possible. Be aware of Enspiral jargon and assumptions. Include links to relevant background info or previous discussions so people can catch themselves up.
Make it Count
Send out as few messages as possible, and use each one to the max. Consider how precious people’s time is. Our attention is a commons we share - if we start overusing it, we'll degrade it for everyone. Do a quick search to see if there’s already an existing thread on the topic before posting a new one.
Ask for Help
Realize that any time you’re communicating to large groups of people, you are doing comms work. If you’re not sure, or not very experienced with comms work, just check in with someone who can help you think through your message and how you’re delivering it to make sure it’s maximally effective.
Keep it brief
If you need help...
Contact email@example.com to reach Jess, our comms maven.
Drop into the #enspiral_help channel on Slack
If you can see room for improvement, please feel free to edit this page. Find out how.