Friday, June 1, 2012

WHY EVERY COOPERATIVE MUST AVAIL ITSELF OF THE NEW MEDIA TO PROMOTE ITS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, OR AT LEAST COMMUNICATE WITH ITS MEMBERS





Some four or five years ago, I did not know how to operate a computer.  I used to work with a government agency and up to the time that I retired (early retirement), I left without learning how to use this new facility.

As I needed to work again, I got to learn how to do Facebook, send e-mail messages, set up Google alerts, surf the Internet, Google search, and even do blogging.  But I still holler for help when the computer hangs or some minor mishaps happen.

So I very much understand if a fellow officer in the cooperative is hesitant to use the new media (social network sites:  Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc.) in the discharge of his functions as an officer.  

After much encouragement and equal amount of disappointment, I was happy that the cooperative of which I am an officer has finally created a Facebook account. Imagine a cooperative of over 40 years!  Before this, we already had set up a website. The members don't seem to find use for the website.  The Facebook group membership is still minimal.

I was advocating that ALL members of our cooperative should register with our cooperative their mobile telephone numbers and should join our cooperative's  group account on Facebook, for example. Initially, maybe all those with existing loans could be required to do so. The proposal seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Everybody and his grandmother has a Facebook account.  One need not buy or use a computer for this.  Even a cellphone will do.  And a little load.  (If you did not know this, have you been hiding under a rock lately? Sad.).

I was just thinking of the cost savings that can be made.  For example, notices that a member's loan payment is coming to be due, can be sent by the cooperative to a member, as a private message.  The privacy is maintained.  None else but the administrator of the cooperative's Facebook, and the member knows of the notice.

Even perhaps demand letters can be served this way.  After all, we have already an e-Commerce Law, where internet communications can now be considered as public or legal communications.

If all cooperative members are connected, think of how easy and inexpensive it would be to communicate, even conduct a conversation with them.  Newsletters can be in the form of an electronic page.  Even an annual report can now be uploaded and be read by the members online.

In our cooperative, almost every employee has a computer unit being used in his work.  Maybe we can go paperless, or minimize the use of paper.  Communications can be through the inter-office Internet.  Create a Yahoo groups account, for example.  Think of all the paper that can be saved.  Think of all the trees that can be spared.

Some banks and advanced cooperatives are now accepting, processing, approving and releasing loan proceeds online (mobile banking using cellphones).

In a cooperative forum, I had at least two occasions to verbalize this wish that somehow a cooperative federation, or even the Cooperative Development Authority, could somehow find a way of interconnecting all registered cooperatives online.  At least require all registered cooperatives to maintain an official Facebook account, for example.

What do we see?  So many cooperatives don't even have Facebook presence. 

Maybe the first step is to require all cooperative officers to undergo training in computer operation and how to make use of the social networking sites, as part of the minimum training compliance.  But alas, we have yet see any concerted effort towards this direction.

Cooperatives and their members need financial literacy.  Equally important, we all need computer literacy.  Or else, we suffer the fate of the dinosaurs.

So, there.   (END).



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