Change is in the air. Change is all about us. And change is hard. But hang in there. Don’t close your eyes to the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is the year that TV changes from analog to digital. Is your TV ready? Did you know that the U.S. government has spent $1.34 billion preparing those without cable or satellite for the change? Yet, according to the National Association of Broadcasters, there is only 92% awareness of the change. With 72 million TVs operating on rabbit ears, that’s a lot of people who will be without their Oprah on February 17th.
Law firm websites, blogs and Google searches have changed the way we search for and find lawyers. While some companies are adapting well to the change, others are withering on the vine.
The same holds true for print media. With circulation down and stock prices tanking, how will print media survive? Some innovative editors, such as BusinessWeek.com’s editor-in-chief and “Digital Journalism Advocate” John A. Byrne, are embracing the change.
The Legal Marketing Association is also in the middle of change in regards to their listserv technology. In December, the Association rolled out LMA-Connect, which will soon replace the listserv.
Since its inception, the listserv provided an e-mail ready tool for the membership to ask questions and receive replies from their peers. There were no opportunities to customize the delivery of messages, and the archive/search capabilities were poor, to say the least.
With his permission, below are Per Casey’s, chair of the LMA Technology Committee, comments on the transition:
By way of some background, the decision of the LMA to move away from the listserv to LMA Connect was not made in haste. From what I’ve experienced and heard, it’s been a topic for discussion for years as many members voiced frustrations with the ‘serv’. It was only last year that we found something (eGroups) that seemed like it could meet our needs. eGroups is from HigherLogic a company that makes software for associations like ours and they’ve taken into consideration many of the needs and challenges we face.
In the end, the main reason for the decision to change systems was efficiency. Numbering over 3000, the LMA membership can’t effectively communicate using one straight listserv. We simply have too many different interests and the potential for too many discussions to cram it all into one thread. The listserv was (or is) great for its directness, everything coming through one pipe, but consider that there are 800 people subscribed to the listserv and, typically, only one to three conversations happening at any one time. That seems anemic to me.
With LMA Connect there are several topic-oriented groups and each could have several different threads, all of which can be easily pulled out and reviewed independently without having to read through a long string of emails, footers, disclaimers, HTML and other distractions.
I know it’s going to be a bumpy migration. We have anticipated that. But in a few months, if not sooner, I think that most of us will look back on the listserv with nostalgia for a bygone application that didn’t hold a candle to the new system. If not, we can always subscribe to Larry [Bodines]‘s listserv and have the best of both
Upgrading technology and adapting to change is never easy, but that is not a reason to avoid doing it. Change is different and change is hard. But hang in there. The light at the end of the tunnel might just be the sun.