What's Going On With The MayneNews List?

My goal with the email list is to make it as effective as possible for spreading community announcements, news and information to Mayne Islanders and friends of Mayne Island.  To really make the list more useful, it needs to be seen by as many people as possible who would want to keep informed of these events.

First I need to make sure the emails are getting through to the recipients. With spam-blocking tools, both at the Internet Service Provider level and within people's email software, many emails that are sent out may never be seen. I have found out recently that sending email from a personal email address to a large list of people is one of the best ways for spam blockers to give that email a high score as potential spam. Then the email either never reaches the intended recipient or their email software throws it into their junk mail or trash mailbox. So I have enlisted the services of an "Email Service Provider" whose business it is to see that email from legitimate emailers can get their messages through to inboxes without getting tagged. These services don't do business with spammers and insist that your list be made up of people who want to be on the list. They also insist that the emails sent out contain full options for unsubscribing from the list. This means that at least for the ISPs the mail coming from them is seen as legit and doesn't get tagged as spam.

The one I picked is called MailChimp (cute name) mainly because their service seems easy to use and because they offer a free account for smaller lists and non-profits. MailChimp offers a number of tools that allow me to monitor if the emails are getting through and to also create nifty-looking HTML emails including graphics and colour. They also offer automatic list management tools that make it easy for people to sign up or unsubscribe from the list as they choose.

I also hope to increase the size of the list. I think that over the years with the move from dial-up internet access with Imagen to broadband with Cablelan and then Shaw and the subsequent shuffling of email addresses, there are many folks on the island who I'm sure would like to see these community announcements, but who may not even know that they are being sent out. They may have received them at one time but when they changed email addresses they were dropped off the list. I put an article in the Mayneliner to let people know about the list changes and how to contact me to sign up. If any of you want to help in this, it would be great if you could talk up the list and inform people to either go to this blog to automatically subscribe or to contact me at info [*at*] maynenews.ca .

Another aspect of this is the blog that I'm trying to develop along with the list. More info, pictures and links can be added to the blog, then it would probably be wise to send out in the emails. The blog also allows for some interactivity because interested people can add comments to the blog postings to generate additional discussion. Or, for instance, someone forgot to mention something in the email that went out, they can comment on the blog posting rather than send out a second emailing and annoying people with too many emails in their inbox.

I truly hope I can take this really valuable community resource that Judi entrusted in me and develop it even further. Any suggestions, ideas or comments are welcome. Please comment right here in the blog or send me an email if you're shy.  :-)

Posted October 2009

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