Re: Telephone Tree
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 04:42:56 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 8, 2004, at 1:32 AM, Chris ScottHanson wrote:

before email...

Don't forget back up and verification. Phone trees are notorious for having unintentional holes where a portion of the list never receives the notice. Do you allow leaving of messages, for instance? Or do you require that the caller actually confirm receipt? Establish what the ideal times of day are for each person to receive calls, as well.

Ditto. I don't think they work. And you never know if they have worked or not - who was left out? Put a return loop at the end -- the last person has to call the first to confirm that the tree was finished. You will also find that this will take several days if not weeks to complete. Also, if a person gets an answering machine and leaves a message, they should call the next person on the list. Don't expect the answering machine message to result in the next call. It can be days before I check my answering machine, for example.

I"m 100% sure that email has significantly decreased development time for cohousing communities. It just works better than anything else by allowing people to have strange schedules and be geographically dispersed and still stay in contact.

Email gives your group members great freedom and is inexpensively inclusive like no other medium. People can be watchers or talkers check in once a week or 10 times a day -- whatever works for them. If you have members without email, they can buddy up with someone who does. People in your group can donate machines to those who don't have them. The limitations of email are no more significant than the limitations of other forums and the advantages are very great.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.