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Going Paperless for 1stfans and Happy New Year!

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For 1stfans, we are attempting to go as paperless as possible and this has been an interesting challenge for us. The first major shift is that we’ve ditched the customary palm cards and, instead, are using these shirts from Reactee (above). Reactee shirts are powered by TextMarks and are designed to text you back, so rather than us handing out all the paper, people can txt for more information and get it right on their phone. These shirts have the added benefit that we can use them over and over again at every event, so you’ll see the entire Membership staff (and a few of the Tech staff) wearing them at Target First Saturdays.

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The next thing we had to think about was signing up 1stfans on-site and keeping that line moving as quickly as possible. We needed an electronic solution that would be both small (the membership desk has limited space) and cheap, so we settled on using Netbooks or, more specifically, Asus eeePCs running Linux. The Netbooks will be using the Firefox browser pointing directly to our e-forms site which is powered by Wufoo (something we just started using and highly recommend). There is one potential pitfall with these—they have the smallest keyboards you’ve ever seen. I’m very curious to see how these work in practice—typing even a limited amount of information (name, phone number, e-mail) could be difficult, so we will have to see what comes of this. Another thought we had was to utilize Safari on the iPod touch via wifi, but that keyboard seemed like it might be even more problematic if we really wanted to keep the line moving at a quick pace.

Full disclosure, there are some exceptions to the paperless rule. First Saturdays are often crowded and when you have this many people in the lobby you’ve just got to have some directional signage to help people find you and stanchion signs are the only way we have to do that, but we will be recycling them as we go along. Also, we are prepared with backup paper forms in case those Netbooks turn out to be problematic, but you’ll be happy to know we’ve maximized the paper with more than one form per page and have utilized both the front and the back of the sheet. As I write this, I can’t help but think of Francesca who had to deal with distributing all those Click! cards, so F., I dedicate this post to you!

With the New Year almost here, I’d like to give you a quick preview of what will be coming to the blog in the next few months. Richard and Mary will be off to Egypt soon, so the Dig Diary will be starting up again (yay!) in January. For all the art lovers who have been bored stiff by the recent slew of Technology and Membership posts, we are working to publish more about art and conservation (double yay and whew!) on the way soon. We appreciate your hanging in there, and here’s to even more stimulating and varied content in the New Year! Have a Happy New Year, everyone and we hope to see you Saturday!