It is now three years since I assumed responsibility for the Society web-site. As I look back I can't help but wonder at the liberties I have taken and the audacity with which I have broadcast my views of the world and the profession in particular. I have been fortunate to receive more bouquets than brickbats - so far! If someone had predicted 5 years ago that I would be filling such a visible and public role as this, and enjoying being provocative, I would have laughed out loud. How things change. It is all Eckert's fault!
The last three years have been a learning curve as I have come to grips with many new skills and honed many others. Best of all my time management has been improved dramatically, I have learned to write to deadlines and to strip down what I write. Harder has been learning to be innovative and seeing potential opportunities opening up ahead. No, I haven't found a crystal ball that works, I just stick my neck out. No I haven't learned to stop wanting to do more than can be done in a day and I suspect I never will - despite the good advice I have read on this site in the past. And no I haven't stopped taking the blue pencil to work others have written - I am surprised how many continue to send me contributions after I have been to work on them.
The web-site has matured and, I suspect, would continue to roll along with little intervention on my part. However, that would lead to stagnation and the site would simply become more of the same. Whilst there are many more things I want to do on the site, I believe it is time for change and an infusion of new blood. At the Sydney Board meeting it was decided to reorganise the role of Editor as defined on the constitution. There are a couple of issues here. One is the way the role of the constitutionally appointed Editor has disappeared with the demise of Volume. The second is ensuring continuity in the talent (?!) pool and inspiration behind the Society publications. Publications are a very important facet of Society life and we need to be very careful to make sure that there are suitably experienced and skilled people available to produce them. For this reason the concept of an Editorial Board was developed.
I have been receiving contributions from a lot of people and each contributor has their own style and approach to things. That mixture of styles is, I believe, an important ingredient in making each issue a "must read". It is, however, not healthy in the long term to have one person driving all the editorial content, deciding what new features to add or delete, and defining the future direction of the web-site. The readership is large in terms of numbers and geographic spread. As I pen this column each month, thoughts of the potential influence I have, send a shiver down my spine. It is more good luck than good management that I seem to have maintained a suitable and generally safe mix. Many are the occasions on which I have sought input from others, on pieces I have written, before committing them to posterity around the world. I have been known, not often I admit, to get conflicting opinions. I do not see a right or a wrong viewpoint but I do see the art of communication as eliciting a response from the reader. Whilst I believe I have the support and appreciation of the membership in my efforts, I cannot help but feel the time is here to broaden the base in terms of editorial endeavour. Failure to do this may well threaten the position of our web-site as a rather influential shopfront for our Society.
What am I looking for? I would like to get expressions of interest from a few people who would form a think tank and resource for current and future web-site development. I am looking for people who have a passion for writing, who have a desire to share that passion and who would like to hone their skills. I am looking for people who would like to throw ideas around, provide me with reality checks, do a little editing and coordinating and who want to have some fun - and yes, who more than likely think they haven't the time to contribute. Enthusiasm and a desire to extend oneself are more important than experience.
I do not envisage that the time commitment required will be great, but yes there will be deadlines to meet. If you enjoy reading each monthly issues, then I suggest you seriously consider getting involved. The most important attribute is a common passion to grow the web-site and the Society. Give me a call to talk about it - even if only to say you would love to give it a go but haven't the time or confidence. No enquiries will attract a commitment and I can assure you they will be in confidence - even if you are calling to dob someone else in!
Give it some thought
Till next time,