The Medill alumni listserv “is currently in a full-scale meltdown over the impending end of the listserv and creation of a social network type alumni network,” reports a Romenesko reader.
Medill communications and alumni relations director Belinda Clarke recently broke the news to “Loyal Medillians” (her words):
On May 30, the listservs will be eliminated. …The Northwestern Alumni Association has spent the last several years building a new online community for Northwestern alumni, students, faculty and staff called OurNorthwestern. It’s now live, and each of you has a pre-loaded profile page in it.
Now that this community is up and running, we, along with all other schools, will be directing all alumni to this new community. It has many cool features, including the capability to build your own blog, start discussions, form interest groups and, most importantly, locate and network with your Northwestern colleagues.
Change is hard, of course, and some Medill grads are having a hard time accepting this. My tipster sent these posts from behind the listserv wall:
I think it sucks that now we’ll have to go to a website to get the awesome job announcements that roll through here everyday. I’ve scored on some of them, and I know others have, too. I think it’s a pain in the ass to have to actually go to a website to find job postings, when getting them via our emails seems to have been a great advantage of this listserv…benefiting both job seekers and potential employers.
I concur with those who have said this is a terrible idea. It almost certainly means the end of my participation as well. I don’t need ANOTHER website to visit, ANOTHER social media profile to manage. It just ain’t gonna happen.
This website roll out sorts reminds me of another one…. Any chance CGI Federal made this website??
It’s trying to fix something that ain’t broke. Or, more likely, it’s some consultant’s idea, who then talked Northwestern into thinking that “consolidation” or creating some kind of new social network was a smart thing to try to do. Then they sold ’em $250k worth of software and servers to support the whole thing, laughing all the way to the bank.
I really hate piling on, and I’m sure you and your folks will dismiss all this as merely a bunch of whiners resistant to change. But that’s as disrespectful of you as the fact that you didn’t deign to ask us what we’d prefer. Many of us, I remind you, have had significant careers reconfiguring the media industry. We’re not backwards folk. We’re the people who have spent the past couple of decades identifying what works best for the most people and ourselves.
Here’s why this approach will fail: The folks on this list-serv actively sought out this kind of forum and discussion. Anyone who isn’t here is certainly not going to waste their time creating a new profile, visiting a website, blah blah blah. They didn’t even care enough to join here.
Let’s see if Medill is as flexible, sensible and willing to admit mistakes as the journalists it hopes to create.
I asked Clarke for comment and she told me to get in touch with Northwestern spokesman Al Cubbage. I’m doing that.
Update — Cubbage writes in an email: “We understand that the listserv is popular with a number of Medill alums and serves as a good tool for a variety of purposes. But we also think the new Northwestern alumni site, Our.Northwestern, will meet those needs, as well as provide other info to alums on events, clubs, access to the alumni directory and other services. So it’s a bit of a change, we realize, but we’re confident that our alums will be able to adapt.”
Update 2 — Paul Glavic tweets: “Reactions on the listserv have been hilariously petulant, but it’s only a handful of people. Most Medill alums aren’t worked up.”
* Earlier: Medill alums told to behave on the listserv – or else! (jimromenesko.com)