Posts Tagged ‘Member Communications’

The CouchSurfing News Channels – Coming Soon!

Friday, July 25th, 2008

A lot of effort is occurring in the background by volunteers working remotely and at the Alaska Collective to establish our very first centralized news page on the site.

Members on the Communications Team are creating guidelines and preparing for the launch of this news page, including developing all the technical specifications for our Tech Team to build this new functionality and making the moves to recruit more volunteers to help manage these channels. Members will be able to subscribe to the channels of their interest by email alert or RSS.

So what can you expect to see on this news page? Click the link below to check these channels out!

Member Stories

The Member Stories news channel will provide the official space for CouchSurfers to write and share their most memorable CouchSurfing experiences – whether surfing, hosting, or meeting CouchSurfers in other capacities. You can expect to hear about not only successful hosting and surfing situations, but the fun CouchSurfers have experienced at gatherings, excursions, events, and activities that inspire, inform, entertain, and motivate members towards furthering the CouchSurfing vision and mission.

Surfers Making Waves

This channel will showcase CouchSurfers who are embarking on particularly unique journeys. They might have a unique story that helps promote the CouchSurfing mission, through a series of unique and interesting couch experiences, be pursuing a project or ambition that is particularly unique and news-worthy, or using CouchSurfing to further a particular mission they are embarking upon.

CS Organization

This is going to make our volunteers and Ambassadors lives so much easier! A centralized channel for all CS organization-related information, to help keep interested members up to date with the latest information regarding the running of the CouchSurfing organization. You will be informed of new projects as they are developed, new volunteers and Ambassadors, new systems implemented, goals that will pursued, policy and finance information when its released, and any other information that Team Leaders want to share about the work of their teams.

CS Technology

Currently this is the Tech Team News Feed, and this channel will continue to inform members of the technical changes that are being implemented on the CouchSurfing site.

Wanderlust Newsletter

A quarterly newsletter that aims to inspire members to what the CouchSurfing vision and mission means on a personal level, and get members thinking about how they can live the CouchSurfing vision every day in their interactions and travels. This popular newsletter is coming back after a long sabbatical and you can expect to see big news items and old favorite sections such as “The Savvy Surfer” and “I want to surf with…”.

Events Newsletter

Another quarterly newsletter to inspire CouchSurfers to get involved with their own communities and other CouchSurfing communities when they travel. By showcasing some truly distinctive events that have been put on around by CouchSurfers around the world, and getting a preview of some to come, we hope to get members excited about actively participating and meeting new people from around the world.

Safety Newsletter

Appearing every six months, this newsletter will be the one stop shop for the most updated information regarding safety in the CouchSurfing community. Members will be informed of the latest safety features that have been implemented to improve member safety, general safety tips, along with information regarding known scams to help make members aware.

Press Spotlight

The CouchSurfing Press Spotlight is managed by our hard working Public Relations and Media team, who keep members updated with the articles that showcase CouchSurfing in the general public. This page will be easily accessible from our news page and will continue to highlight the stories that feature the CouchSurfing community.

Members will have the opportunity to submit article ideas for different channels and our Communications Team volunteers will make the news happen! Not all channels will be available immediately upon the launch of the page, but you get the idea of where we are heading. The next step after this page will be to determine an effective way for members to give feedback and provide ideas and suggestions on what is going on within the CouchSurfing community. The Communications Team is keen to make sure that community news is a two-way street!

If you are an experienced editor or writer and want to get involved in volunteering with the Communications Team, then please visit the Community Communications Group to stay tuned for the recruitment announcements!

Who Are We?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

One of our goals at this collective is to enhance the user experience of a CouchSurfer. A general goal, but an important one none the less. When we began discussing different ways to accomplish this goal, we realized that we only had a vague impression of who CouchSurfers were. Sure, from profile polling we could tell that the average age is 26, most of us speak English, we all like to try new things, and we like to meet new people. What we were having difficulty figuring out was where people were having trouble with the site. We knew where we were having trouble and what processes are complicated, but finding what was complicated to users of different experience levels was a challenge.

Enter the User Research Team! Created during the Thailand Collective, this team is made of of people around the world who specialize in user research! They have come up with some incredible solutions for us to find out how and why surfers use the site in the way they do. The team has just started an audience research project that will help us define our group of users. We can see who is just joining the site, and how they manage to find what they are looking for compared to the site use of surfers who have been active since the birth of CouchSurfing – and everyone in between.

Knowing who we are helps in every aspect of CouchSurfing. The goal is to simplify everything, and allow people to find what they are looking for without having to think about searching for it. We will be able to identify groups of users, and present them with tailored navigation options that offer no more and no less than what they want.

Recently we posted a news item with a survey for focus groups, and the response has been incredible. The strength of the CouchSurfing community is evident in the number of people who are willing to donate their time towards the improvement of the experience.

Playing the numbers game

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I admit it – as much as I love spontaneity in my personal life, I absolutely love a good plan when it comes to anything I am pursuing at work. So you can imagine my relief of finally getting my hands on the priority list for this Collective. It is comprehensive, and I can now see why it took the key members of the Leadership Team so much time to nut out the details.

Things have been separated into priority A and B. I love this method – priority A projects are highlighted so all teams know what projects are the most important.

For example, from a member communications perspective its fantastic that developing news feeds channels and creating the one central page for these channels is a priority A project. It means I don’t have to do any personal bribing/coercing/begging with the tech team to get support for implementing this project. No, it’s been done from the perspective that CS leaders have looked at overall what CouchSurfing needs (largely from input and strategies already developed) and defined those into priorities. Now it’s the task of the teams here to start implementing.

How do we start implementation? Well, it all starts with planning…so all team coordinators have gone through the list of projects and allocated the amount of time it will take to complete their proportion of the project. At the end of exercise, when all numbers are gathered up again, we will know whether this list of objectives is realistic (i.e. is there enough hours available to us in this Collective to do what needs to be done?).

This is the first real step of project planning I have been involved in here at CouchSurfing and it’s exciting to see this progress made. From my perspective, it makes me aware just how valuable every minute of my days are here – I am booked solid! And I want to make every one of those minutes count the most so that at the end of my time here, I have made a visible difference to CouchSurfing and its members.

I am still working with the rest of the team here to work out the best way to present these objectives to general members. These will be released as soon as we can.