Switchboard Basics

Switchboard basics to help you wrap your head around Switchboard and getting it started.

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Written by Support
Updated over a week ago

Switchboard’s simplicity and ease of use make it powerful and useful for administrators and users alike. And while much of Switchboard’s functionality is intuitive, studying the ins and outs of the Switchboard will set you up to educate your community confidently and accurately about how to best use it and help your administrators understand how to best use Switchboard to serve their constituents.

Types of users on Switchboard

  1. Users - have basic access and privileges, such as posting, commenting, private messaging, flagging posts, and viewing other users’ profiles and interests

  2. Moderators - can see and manage flagged posts and comments and ban and approve users

  3. Stewards (i.e. stakeholders and administrators) - have access to everything on the Switchboard, including core settings, message campaigns, member directory, and analytics dashboard. Only stewards have the ability to promote users to moderator or steward status

Basic User Functions/Engagement on Switchboard

The vast majority of people who sign up will just have basic user access and privileges, which include:

  1. Posting asks/offers (and editing their own posts)

  2. Searching for posts using keyword searches and search filters

  3. Commenting on posts (and editing their own comments)

  4. Hearting posts - a passive way to like or show appreciation for a post

  5. Messaging other users - private messages between users

  6. Sharing posts with others outside of the Switchboard through email and social media

  7. Flagging suspicious posts - post stays visible on Switchboard, but founders and moderators are notified about it

  8. Adjusting notification settings

  9. Editing their profile

  10. Adding and editing interests

Community members with administrative access (called “Stewards” in Switchboard vernacular) have all of the privileges that users above have, as well as:

  1. Ability to edit/delete posts

  2. Administrative Dashboard access 

  3. Member Directory - list of all users and associated data (some of which can be manipulated (e.g. changing the status of a user from “user” to “steward” to give that user administrative privileges)

  4. Interactions Directory - list of activity happening both publicly and behind the scenes on your Switchboard

  5. Insights - data reporting on Switchboard activity

  6. Outreach - tools to communicate with Switchboard community and set up donation button

  7. Oversight - repository for flagged posts and place to take care of those posts

Productive user behaviors

Users can interact with Switchboard in a variety of ways. Some ways are more productive than others, and emphasizing, modeling, and encouraging productive behaviors early and often is important to your Switchboard’s growth. Productive user behaviors include:

  1. Commenting on posts (especially asks) and tagging specific people to put the post on their radar

  2. Reporting how their post went when prompted during the automatic check in process

  3. Sharing their success story during the automatic check in process (if applicable)

  4. Scrolling through the main feed to find posts they can interact with

  5. Using the search and filter tools to surface relevant posts

  6. Adding interests to their profile to find others users who share those interests and customize what types of posts users are notified about

  7. Linking existing social media to their profile

  8. Reading their weekly digest email to keep the Switchboard on their radar

Productive administrative behaviors

Founders have the power to positively impact adoption and engagement on their Switchboard. It is important for administrators to perform the following actions with regularity to keep their Switchboard healthy:

  1. Reviewing data in the Insights section of the administrative dashboard to understand Switchboard health and improve Switchboard adoption and engagement efforts

  2. Interacting with posts that appear to have not gained traction by commenting, sharing with others in the community, or messaging the poster

  3. Educating and working with stakeholders to build their commitment to and engagement with Switchboard (especially with stakeholders whose constituents are students)

  4. Maintaining Switchboard as a high priority by integrating it into as many events, projects, and initiatives as possible

  5. Driving community adoption with calls-to-action via email, social media, in-person campaigns, or through the Switchboard

  6. Outlining Switchboard priorities in a timeline to keep stakeholders on track

  7. Adding/Tracking goals in the Goals section of Insights to build accountability around Switchboard goals and priorities

  8. Regularly reviewing personal and collective administrative involvement and the health of the Switchboard using the Switchboard Investment and Health Scale.

  9. Share progress with stakeholders with an regular community report.  This could be monthly, quarterly, and/or annually.

General Switchboard knowledge

While most of Switchboard is intuitive and front-facing, there are some things to know about your Switchboard that you won’t necessarily see:

  1. All users receive an email digest, weekly by default, of posts they haven’t seen. This is how most users access Switchboard.

  2. Users who post asks or offers are automatically emailed to check in on how their interaction was. This is how data around success stories and positive, neutral, and negative outcomes is collected.

  3. Founders are notified via email whenever a post or comment is flagged.

  4. Anytime a user is tagged in a comment or receives a message, they are notified via email and receive a notification message on the main feed of the Switchboard only they can see.

  5. Closing posts allows users to indicate that their post is no longer available, but keeps the post on the Switchboard so it can be found in searches and used in the future in some other way. If a user deletes a post, the interactions and data associated with that post, as well as the post itself, are gone forever.

  6. Users model their behavior and posts off of what already exists on your Switchboard.

Action Items

Input these goals into the Goals section of Insights:

  1. Create 3-5 calendar reminders for productive administrative behaviors you want to regularly do.

  2. Meet with all other stakeholders that have “Steward” role and review this module with them.

  3. 100% response rate on posts over the next 6 months.

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