Loomio
Wed 25 Nov 2020

Taking Mutual Interest Media forward

JD
Jonny Denfhy Public Seen by 16

Hello everybody,

I hope you are all well. I'm Jonny, one of the regular writers for MIM and I'm creating this thread because I want to discuss the direction we are all going in with MIM. I think the success of the coop so far has been really great and we've gathered more members then we expected at this point, that's fantastic but I think we can do better. I have a couple of things that I think need working on and I want to get an opinion from all of you.

1) The website design

  • The design of the website was great for getting MIM off the ground but I think we have outgrown it as an organisation. I think we could improve the layout as well as the graphic design (possibly even a new logo?). I have seen members express interest in improving the layout (creating new categories, improving the membership sign up section etc...) but nothing has been done so far. I was thinking that perhaps we could have a vote on whether to set aside more of our current revenue stream for redesigning the website and improving the graphic design, this may allow us to work with a graphic design organisation who could do it for us professionally: the autonomous design organisation would be an excellent option for this. However, I would like your opinions on this topic.

2) Publicity and reach

  • So far we do have an Instagram account and a Facebook page, as well as regularly posting to reddit. However, our reach is quite minimal. I think that if we are serious about MIM then we should begin to concentrate on how we can expand our reach. Perhaps getting in guest writers with some prestige (maybe Paul Mason, as he did express interest in MIM when it first launched). On top of this it would be fantastic if we could have some members who want to help with social media, I don't think we should limit ourselves to the standard sites like Facebook and Instagram, we should also be engaging with co-operatively owned social media sites.

  • We could also reach out to trade unions, co-operatives and other organisations that share our values so they can expand our reach and promote MIM

3) Culture section

  • I have had conversations with Leo on this topic and he is quite keen. I think we could work on producing more cultural content (which should of course match our aims as an organisation), for example we have an article coming out soon on Resonate.coop. Perhaps book and documentary reviews could be possible, I know somebody has mentioned a potential deal with means.tv and resonate for our members

4) Member engagement and benefits

  • Considering that we are a mixed-cooperative we have quite low member engagement beyond voting on your favourite articles of the month. What ideas do people have on how we can really bring member engagement to the fore of MIM? This may also crossover with point 1) in that we could build member engagement into the website layout/design. At the moment it seems that being a member means more supporting the co-operative rather than truly engaging with or benefiting from it.

Thank you for reading. I don't mean this thread to be negative in anyway, instead I am inspired by the brilliant response we have had to MIM so far and I want us an organisation to expand our horizons and think big. Particularly when it is a time where big ideas are being thrown around constantly and small organisations are disrupting established industries: how can we be at the forefront of this change and influence it?

Thank you,

Jonny Denfhy (MIM writer)

ID

Iwan Doherty Wed 25 Nov 2020

Hi Jonny,

I'm going to reply to this in stages because it'll be good to give full responses so everything is clear and all members know where we are with the co-operative. So will reference with the numbers you've used.

1)You'll be glad to hear this is already underway- 2 members who are very experienced in website development are working on the site and the design of it. This has been delayed slightly due to various factors but they should have a few draft designs for members to vote on in 2020. We have set aside savings equivalent to 5% of revenue and a portion of these will be used to compensate these members for their excellent work.

2) Expanding reach is always at the forefront of our minds and some articles do very well reach wise, especially when myself and Leo can exploit our various social media networks, however, some articles don't receive the engagement they perhaps deserve.

To boost reach across the board we would like help from the membership in sharing articles to various places- Our fb and twitter pages are fairly small and they will continue to grow but it is hard to get them to grow at anywhere near the rate without serious investment.

If members are interested in helping they should contact myself or Leo and we will suggest various ways they can help drastically boost the reach of articles. 5 minutes of your day really can help the co-operative so please do step forward if that interests you.

Me and Leo will continue to work on this regardless of whether we have volunteers or not and in my opinion I think both feeds are of high quality, you'd hope so as Me and Leo are professionals at this ;), and the articles we have promoted heavily have often done very well.

Equally, we do have a list of organisations we want to reach out to but time is the main barrier here at present. Again, if members are willing to help that can speed the process up.

Any thoughts on social media from any member is appreciated.

3)Yes these have been discussed, we've had 1 book review already, but we can't do this section without the submissions for it so getting those would be the first step. I'll let Leo expand more on this

4) Again I'll let Leo expand on this as he has a few ideas but we do have some ideas that have been discussed.

We like to think we have a very engaged membership, we certainly appreciate the generous help we get from our members, especially a few of them who engage regularly. The best way I think for arranging improvements to membership benefits is to open it back up to the membership, rather than editorial handing it down, and asking what benefits/oppurtunities you want from MI membership. Perhaps we should dedicate a Loomio thread to this?

I'm going to insert a poll to this comment about wanting to help with social media or outreach? If you vote yes I will drop you a message about it and then you can make a decision.

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions Jonny, this has been most useful for both communicating the progress we're making and helping us improve the cooperative.

JD

Jonny Denfhy Thu 26 Nov 2020

Hi Iwan,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to all my points. I'm chuffed to hear that the website is being redesigned as we speak. That's brilliant news. It was also a great idea to create the poll below. I'll wait for Leo to expand on some of the other points and hopefully for other members to chip in and respond. Again, I hope it was clear that I think everything done so far by MIM (you and leo especially) has been excellent, I just want it to get even better.

ID

Iwan Doherty started a check Wed 25 Nov 2020

Who wants to volunteer a small amout of time to help outreach/social media? Closed Thu 10 Dec 2020

See comment by Iwan Doherty

5 - Yes
0 - No
MR

Martyn Rawlinson
Yes
Wed 25 Nov 2020

I agree with all the ideas, would like to be a Facebook admin and write for the new cultural section.

GH

George Hayes
Yes
Wed 25 Nov 2020

Love Coops simple as will be happy to help

JF

James Fielding
Yes
Wed 25 Nov 2020

More than happy to help in any way possible

JD

Jonny Denfhy
Yes
Wed 25 Nov 2020

I already have access to the Instagram account. The only thing that would be helpful would to be sent the header image for each article so I can use that on our Instagram stories.

TF

Tyler Freeman Thu 26 Nov 2020

The site is WordPress, right? Instead of doing a custom design which would be quite expensive, there are tons of WordPress themes out there that look really good and can be customized with logos etc. The Unsplash theme is one that I've used before which looks very professional, and it's only $70

AK

Avi (Dr KBH) Fri 27 Nov 2020

Apart from the marmite reactions people have to paul mason, I second everything in this post :) Look forward to what the aesthetic redesign comes back with (theres also these guys which I am sure peeps are aware of https://www.coops.tech/). It would be good to match whatever the upgrades are with a more coherent conversation about who and what MIM is for, plus doing some ground work to make things like the publishing or upkeep process more transparent e.g. the fact that MIM is down tonight perhaps expresses the fact that more hands are needed on deck

JD

Jonny Denfhy Sat 28 Nov 2020

Yeah, I agree with the Paul Mason comment, it was just that he initially showed some interest in us (although maybe that isn't a good thing!)

How could we facilitate this wider conversation about what MIM is for etc..? maybe a meet.coop call?