Google Primer

    Chapter of IMBA

    October 24, 2016, 10:54 PM

    This is a primer on Google Drive and Google Groups. Yes, it's a bit long, but there is no good, short way to disseminate the information without leaving a lot of questions.  I hope to answer many of them below.

    If you are a board member, you should have received your @madcitydirt.com Google account credentials back on June 13.  If you did not receive the email, if you have forgotten your password, if you need help setting up your device(s) to check the account, if you have reservations about moving to Google, if you don't want to be bothered by having another Google account, please post here and someone will assist you.  The sooner that we fully switch over to Google, the sooner we can cancel our Basecamp subscription, and start using all the features that our Google for Nonprofits offers while saving ourselves thousands of dollars that could go elsewhere.

    Why move from Basecamp to Google?

    • Google is free.
    • Google lets us do more.
    • Google is easier to use*.
    • Google has better document storage.
    • Google lets you have your own email account that we can advertise publicly without exposing your personal email address.  Also, as board members change, we can easily transition newcomers into their roles without losing information.
    • Google lets us set up email groups for a variety of purposes.  Trail maintenance groups, CORP board business, help wanted, etc... it's really limited by your imagination and what we think will work for us.
    • Your friendly administrator is doing most of the legwork to get this set up, and get people using it, because he's interested in getting something in place that he is convinced can help with club organization, club growth, and overall long-term success.

    If you aren't familiar with Google Drive or Google Groups, it's like anything new.  There is a bit of learning curve.  I'll leave the offer to help open for as long as it takes, and I'm sure there are others that can help.

    Google Drive

    If you don't know what this is, it's basically a cloud-based system of folders and files that can be shared.  Meeting agendas and minutes, budgets, tool inventory, project notes and documents, by-laws, etc. can be stored here as documents and spreadsheets. 

    Google Drive can be accessed at http://drive.madcitydirt.com/.  Each CORP account has their own personal drive "My Drive", which you can use to keep your own personal documents that you don't need or wish to share with CORP.  The CORP drive can be accessed by going to "Shared with me". Ideally, this is where most of the documents will be.  One of our first goals is to migrate documents from Basecamp over to the Google Drive.

    I should note that one tricky thing here is that the CORP Drive is set up as the "My Drive" of the the Admin account, and is shared out to users in their "Shared with me".  When you log in with your @madcitydirt.com account, you'll have as much access as your role allows.  e.g. the treasurer can post documents to the monthly reports folder, the secretary can create agendas, board members can edit or comment on the agendas, that kind of thing.  If you try to access the Drive with your personal account, you will have limited access to some of these files and folders (you will not be able to add or edit).  So if you are wondering why you can't add or edit files, that is the likely culprit.  In the event that you still don't have permission to a folder you think you should, please contact admin@madcitydirt.com.

    Google Groups

    If you aren't familiar with these, they are basically a group of users that can be treated as an email group.  Emails sent to these groups can also be accessed in forum format, so you can go back and look at all the email threads from the past, much like email history.  Accessing via the browser also gives you a lot more options as far as what you can do (assigning tasks, marking tasks as complete, etc), but we can get into that later.

    Access to these groups can be restricted to only CORP board members or opened to the public on a per-group basis.  I see several uses for these:

    • CORP business (logistical stuff like setting up meeting locations, meeting agendas, etc. that most non-CORP people won't care about)
    • Trail maintenance groups (open to non-board members/general public)
    • Generic help wanted requests (open to all)
    • Really, anything anyone wants to do with these.  Fat biking, group rides, etc.

    You can access all the Google groups at http://groups.madcitydirt.com/.  Again, you'll want to login with your CORP account, at least for now. Groups that you are members of are under My Groups, and you can also Browse All to see all of the CORP Google Groups, in case you want to join one, or just see what's going on. There are also links to Discussions that you've been a part of (replied/posted to), and you can mark discussions as favorites, effectively saving them for easier access later.

    I have the groups set up so that everyone that has a CORP account can see what's happening in the other groups, even without being a member, by using a web browser to access the group as a forum.  Think of being a member as being subscribed to the group, it loops you in to get emails when someone posts to the group.  You can also control how often you are notified of activity, much like Basecamp (as often as soon as a new message is posted, or a once daily summary).

    If you want a Group created, please let me know and I'll get it set up.

    « Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 11:57 PM by CORP »