Why would you publish a newsletter in the age of blogs, microblogs, and livestreams? The constant stream of information is deafening and I see myself more and more not turning on Twitter and certainly not following every update on Facebook or LinkedIn. I went back to the “old” way of subscribing to RSS feeds and reading those. However, lo and behold I have a classification of RSS feeds: The ones that I should follow preferably on a daily basis I get delivered to my mailbox. The rest sits patiently in Google Reader. Those in my mailbox are primarily search alerts for Mahara and a couple of other sites. Forum discussions etc. I receive as email notifications so that I can respond easily.
We could have created a Mahara blog and published news, stories about universities or schools using Mahara, new development work etc. as they come in. But who would read it in the flood of things and we would be pressured to constantly publish something to have something interesting for the potential readers. Then we could just publish that information in the forums. I think a newsletter that is published according to a regular schedule is a nice break from the constant flow of information and it can nicely highlight projects.
The Mahara Newsletter is published quarterly. Its first issue appeared on April 1, 2011 (it was not an April Fool’s Joke; still March 30, 2011, in the USA where our server is). We want to showcase:
- stories from users of Mahara – both personal accounts and how institutions use it
- development projects
- events / recounts of events around Mahara
- research about Mahara
Each newsletter will have around 10 short articles of approximately 100 words that can link to a longer article on a blog, Mahara page, online article etc. Submissions for the newsletter in languages other than English are also welcome as long as they are accompanied by a summary in English.
Our Mahara Newsletter was inspired by the Official Koha Newsletter from the Koha Community, a community around the open source Integrated Library Management System Koha. If you want to read what others find newsworthy on a more frequent basis, there are at least two blogs dedicated to news around Mahara for non-English speaking members of the community:
- Mahara News, published by IMB Donau-Universität Krems in Austria in German
- Mahara Facts, published by Avetica in The Netherlands in Dutch
Two days ago I sent off an application for an ISSN for the newsletter and hope to hear back soon.
The next newsletter is going to appear on July 1, 2011, and submissions can be made either by emailing me directly or by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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