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Jump on the Line: AAERT Communications Committee Report
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Jump on the Line: AAERT Communications Committee Report
by Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET

 

I moved to rural Cass County, Indiana in about 1980. The environment was new to me in many ways. A well for water, a septic system, and gravel roads were all necessary to function outside of city limits. Another surprise about rural living was the multiple-party telephone line. The party line shared the same telephone line and serviced multiple subscribers. Party line systems were widely used to provide telephone service starting with the first commercial switchboards in 1878. A majority of Bell Telephone subscribers in the mid-20th century in the United States and Canada were serviced by party lines. Farmers in rural Australia used party lines where a single line spanned miles from the nearest town to one property and on to the next.1

This was all before the days of iPhones, Internet connections, and instant messaging. Our first land line in the country was an 8-party line with teenagers living next door. Needless to say, conversations were not private. It was common to eavesdrop. Listening in on the party line was a source of free entertainment for many, and it was fun. Does this relate to the AAERT Communications Committee in any way? First, let me explain. Then let me compare.

THE COMMITTEE’S PURPOSE
The AAERT Communications Committee manages the newsletter, the website, and social media posting. These tools are extremely useful and enable AAERT to report on events for the Association and within the industry by means of research, social media posts, two-way communication, and newsletter articles. Our goal is to alert members to upcoming events, to keep members informed, to strengthen member knowledge and expertise, to build excitement in the AAERT community, and to promote AAERT as the premier association for digital reporting and transcribing.

The Committee can consist of 5-7 members from across the industry. A one-year commitment of 4-6 hours per month is required. Committee members are required to hold an AAERT membership. Journalism, writing, or editing experience are all a plus. Committee members are encouraged to attend the Annual AAERT Conference.

PROJECTS and TASKS
Committee projects and tasks may include:
• Maintain branding including the website, social media, and the newsletter
• Monitor website appearance, content, statistics, and quality
• Explore ways to make effective use of social media
• Develop a list of topics for articles in newsletter
• Encourage volunteers to produce useful and informative articles
• Collect articles and edit the newsletter
• Research articles of value for social media posting and monitor social media sites

To date during 2017, the Communications Committee has composed 10 newsletters and researched and posted on average 100 posts per month. In the course of a year, that is well over 1,200 separate posts or opportunities to stay informed and learn. Have you read some of the posts? Have you commented or let us see your opinions about some of them?

THE AAERT PARTY LINE
Social media in many ways reminds me of the old party lines. While you may no longer hear that Sadie’s apple pie was soggy on the bottom, Josephine is expecting a new grandchild, or Glenn anticipates having quite a few heifers in the spring after a visit from Milton’s bull, you can jump on the AAERT party line. You can read about the state of our industry, news flashes, the plans of other law-related groups, what AAERT is planning, opinions of other members, which technical product is the best, or how to punctuate an awkward sentence some witness uttered. You can remain silent or you can ask a question, post a comment, or disagree with a post. This is the benefit of communication whether it is by our newsletter, our social media posts, or the AAERT website. You can see and say or just see and not say.

Our committee is always looking for volunteers to do research, write articles, or make innovative suggestions to improve our look and the way we communicate with the AAERT membership. The old telephone party line has yielded to technology and change. We now hold in our hands the key to an endless source of information. However, humans still need to communicate, to inform, to interact, and to express their opinions to each other.

As Winston Churchill said, “If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time -- a tremendous whack.”

Jump on the line and drop me a line. I’m listening.

 

1Party Line (telephony)

Gail Malm Armstrong is an AAERT Certified Reporter and Transcriber. She currently serves as the Chair of the AAERT Communications Committee and is Editor-in-Chief of the AAERT monthly newsletter.


Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET

newsletter@aaert.org


 

 

 

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