Monthly Archives: November 2017

Online forums: blessing or curse?

A recent* thread on an online forum leads me to think about the dangers of such forums – or are they blessings in disguise? A communication from a Cathedral to a visiting choir implied a significant change in what such choirs would be permitted to do. An online discussion of the implications of its content caused consternation at that Cathedral. It turned out that this communication had left out a couple of relevant points, and the original poster ended the discussion by posting a correction.

I understand how organisations must fear social media and forums with their power to spread information, possibly altering it in the process. But there are benefits for them. Firstly, an awareness that the content of communications may quickly become public may cause greater care in the wording of those communications and on how they are delivered; in my experience Cathedrals can be quite casual about this. It may mean fewer messages coming from ‘on high’ with the originator of a decision getting someone else to deliver the actual message, with the attendant risk of distortion, misunderstanding and lack of transparency. Better communications all round can only be a help.

Secondly, the internet is making the sort of discussions members of visiting choirs have always had among themselves (there is a large overlap in membership) more visible. In other words, it is now possible to eavesdrop on these discussions, scotch false rumours, correct inaccuracies, and even reflect on the actions which sparked off those discussions. These points seem relevant to a wider world outside the rather restricted one of Cathedral visiting choirs.

* I have backdated this thread so as not to reveal any identities, which is not the point of this post.