When we first set up the Lochac IT systems, there was no such thing as Facebook, or Skype, or Twitter, or even Gmail. The tools we built for ourselves were the only choice for a lot of the basic needs of our kingdom.
Now, an increasing number of our citizens are using third-party products to do the things we used to have to do for ourselves. The most obvious change is that the Shambles, our old email discussion list for chatting about anything and everything, has been replaced by the Lochac Facebook page. We have also replaced most of our manually-edited websites with WordPress or Drupal systems, which are so much easier for non-technical people to edit. Plus, we’ve also started to depend on tools like Dropbox, Skype and SurveyMonkey.
…and lots of other tools – because it seems everyone has a favourite.
This is good news – it means we can use free services to replace things we used to have to build and maintain for ourselves. It is also a problem, because most of those cloud-based services don’t come with a user manual or a (usable) helpdesk. So the role of the Masonry team is evolving to include tech support for people using those tools to run their groups and events. But our resources are (very, very) finite, and that means identifying the most popular, or best tool for each function, and making sure we have someone on the team who can support that tool. Not only would it be a herculean task to provide support for every different product our citizens might be using… we’d be missing an opportunity to build kingdom-wide systems where the groups plagiarise (sorry, capitalize on) each other’s work.
That means we in Masonry need to work out which tools our members are finding to be the best native fit for their needs, and the most user-friendly, and support them. We recognise that our idea of what counts as ‘user friendly’ might not be the same as everyone else’s, because what makes sense to us might not make sense to you. Therefore, it’s time for a little market research.
Survey One: Teleconferencing tools
We want to know what you use to talk to each other over the web, and what you think of it. Please answer a few quick questions.