Why you need a bulletin board and not Facebook
When smallish organizations rely on e-mail to keep members up-to-date on the latest news and activities, problems immediately arise when one simple message generates many responses. As members respond to the replies, the discussion quickly turns into a disorganized mess that's impossible to follow.
When a really contentious issue arises, the discussion can consume hours of everyone's time, and nothing useful comes of it except angry members. I don't know about you, but I have a busy life, and the last thing I want to do is waste it sorting through conflicting threads in ricocheting e-mails.
Face-to-face meetings are not the solution. Expensive as well as a massive time sink in the best of circumstances, group meetings are impractical in an Internet world without geographic boundaries.
Many groups are turning to social networks such as Facebook to communicate. But even there, important topics are difficult to organize, and many folks are just plain afraid of Facebook and its like.
The far-better option: set up and run your own electronic bulletin board. Many years ago, when I started Woody's Lounge — now the Windows Secrets Lounge — creating and running a bulletin board took equal parts programming prowess, manic dedication, and black magic. Many people contributed many hours of free time to keep it together.
So recently, when some friends asked me to set up a similar bulletin board for a local charity group — nothing fancy, just a little baling wire-and-chewing gum project — I was tempted to tear my hair out and run screaming for the door.
But I had heard that the process of creating and maintaining a small bulletin board is much simpler now. After a bit of research, I discovered it's true — creating a new bulletin board's a piece of cake.
Bulletin boards defined for new BB managers
The precise technical term varies depending on what software you use, but electronic bulletin boards (also called "message boards") all have common features. A bulletin board has one or more forums, places where members post messages that others can see and...