The [announce] system was originally implemented in the mid- 1990s to broadcast a tragedy; that a Bates student had passed away. This is the sort of information that ought to be disseminated to the school community quickly, effectively, and thoroughly. It is the type of information that concerns each and every member of the Bates community. It is the type of information that legitimately ought to be included in the [Announce] model.
The issue with the [announce] system is that it is so disorganized and overused that it has become entirely ineffective. It is abused to the point that it no longer fulfills its very necessary duty. And, unfortunately, it has become problematic enough so as to no longer be a true solution.
The purpose of the [announce] system, in its earliest iteration, was to inform the Bates community of immediate, imperative issues. The system, in its current iteration, does indeed fulfill this purpose on occasion, but it is also used to broadcast information that only concerns smaller sects within the greater Bates community. This is a clear misuse of its original intent. Below is a brief list, chosen at random, of [announce] email subject lines currently sitting in my inbox.
[Announce] Room Change: German Club General Interest Meeting.
[Announce] Circus Club Training Tonight.
[Announce] A.A.S.I.A. Sushi Night…Postponed.
These emails do not concern me. While I may love sushi, I have never signed up for A.A.S.I.A., or the German Club. And while I think it’s hilarious that there is actual circus training occurring on the Bates campus, you won’t see me playing a clown or juggling balls of fire while walking a tightrope any time soon.
Roughly 30 [announce] emails are sent daily; sometimes fewer, sometimes more. I’d say that, on average, 3 to 4 of these emails concern me in some way. However, these all too frequently get lost in the mix. If I have 30 emails to delete (I try to keep my inboxes at 0 at all times), the 10% of those that I actually care about can easily get misplaced, archived or placed in the trash. I know that this is a rampant issue for others on this campus as well. Some students have even chosen to abandon these emails entirely by using filters, due to the inconvenience they cause with their overwhelming accumulation in our inboxes. This leaves students vulnerable to ignorance.
We need to improve our communications system at this college, because if we cannot effectively communicate, we cannot effectively coordinate. It seems that the average student spends more time deleting [announce] emails than actually reading the announcements themselves.
If the point of the [announce] system is to effectively circulate information that we specifically designate as vital to the community at large, then this system is blatantly broken. It is so overused and untargeted that it is more of a nuisance than a tool, more an annoyance than a solution. As Bates works to develop a more cohesive, informed community, it must also replace this antiquated system.
There are initiatives currently developing ways to improve this system, and I have been taking part in one such group. As the communications system at Bates becomes more targeted and more efficient, more people will be aware of the things they specifically want to be aware of. Cutting out the [announce] system does not decrease communications on campus. It does the opposite, because it increases communication and coordination. When the process is over and the [announce] system has been replaced with a more effective system, our communication will be clearer, our community members will be more engaged, and our campus will be stronger.
In essence, this article is an announcement in itself:
[Announce] Announce is dead.