Communities

Questions and Answers about the Alumni Blog

The Austen Riggs Center website contains two different blogs. There is the general Riggs Blog and there is the Alumni Blog. The Alumni Blog is found under the heading of “Communities.”

What is the difference between and purpose of these two blogs?

The general Riggs Blog is open to the general public. It is a mix of news about clinical work, research and educational activities from the Austen Riggs Center, as well as a source of information beyond Riggs that may be interesting and thought-provoking. The Alumni Blog is a closed web community which is exclusively available to former patients, former staff and former Trustees of Riggs, once they have registered with the alumni relations department. Current Riggs staff members do have a “read only” access, which means, they can only view the content posted, but cannot comment on it. The content of the Alumni Blog pertains to the interests of the alumni community.

How is the content on the Alumni Blog determined and who gets to make posts on the blog?

The content for the Alumni Blog is developed by the Alumni Editorial Board (which is comprised of Riggs alumni) in concert with the staff of Riggs. All members of the alumni community at Riggs are encouraged to submit posts for consideration to Janet Hiser, Director of Communications and Advancement, at janet.hiser@austenriggs.net. Alumni may choose to submit an article and have it posted either anonymously or with their full or partial name.

What type of topics or subjects are covered on the Alumni Blog?  

Articles on the Alumni Blog cover a wide range of content, including personal testimonials, information about alumni events, personal experience with post-discharge situations and articles of general interest to alumni. 

Do all posts on the Alumni Blog get screened by someone at Riggs before they are posted to the Alumni Blog?

All blog posts and comments are reviewed by members of the Riggs staff before they are posted. The reasons for this are to assure that no private information regarding Riggs alumni is posted and to comply with our social media policy. It is not intended to censor anyone’s comments or posts.

Does a person have to be registered and log in even if they only want to read what is posted on the Alumni Blog?

Yes, registration is required to participate on the Alumni Blog even if it is to only read the posts and comments. No part of the blog can be accessed without first registering and logging into the online alumni community.

How does a person register for the Alumni Blog?

A member of the Riggs alumni community submits their registration via the Austen Riggs Center website by going to the “Communities” section, clicking on “Join our Alumni Community” and providing the necessary information. This information will go to the Riggs alumni relations staff to verify that the person is, in fact, a Riggs alum (former patient, former staff or former Trustee). After verification, the alum will be provided with a username and password. Generally, the username provided is the person’s first name and last initial. However, it is strongly recommended that members change their usernames and passwords to something they are comfortable with and can easily remember. The username will appear on the Alumni Blog with any comments that members may wish to make. However, it is not displayed if the member chooses only to read what is on the Alumni Blog. To remain anonymous, members should consider changing their usernames to something that cannot be identified.  Instructions on how to go about changing one’s username are provided as part of the registration process.

Will my personal identity be compromised if I choose to write a comment or post something to the Alumni Blog?

As long as your username is not identifiable as belonging to you, there is little risk of identification. [See previous question for more information about how usernames are established and managed.]  In addition, it is important to point out that a further protection from possible identity compromise is the fact that the Alumni Blog is not searchable via Google or other search engines. As noted above, articles submitted to the blog can be posted anonymously if that is your preference.  The Austen Riggs Center holds all alumni information as strictly confidential.

Is it possible to use the Alumni Blog as a way to contact someone I knew while at Riggs but for whom I no longer have their contact information?

Authors of Alumni Blog articles may not check regularly to see what comments may have been made in response to their post. And since Riggs cannot approve any comment that would specifically identify a particular person as an alum of Riggs, trying to reach out to someone you once knew via the Alumni Blog is not an ideal way to connect. A better way to try and re-connect with someone would be to send an email to janet.hiser@austenriggs.net letting Janet know the name of the person you would like to contact. Then, assuming Riggs has the contact information for that person, Janet can send them a private message (outside of the Alumni Blog) indicating that you would like to contact them. If you are comfortable including your contact information and give your permission to send it along to the alum that you are trying to reach, it will help facilitate a connection because it will allow the other alum to contact you directly.  The Austen Riggs Center cannot release anyone’s contact information without their express permission.

If you have other questions regarding the Alumni Blog or if you have difficulty trying to register for or logging in to the Alumni Blog, please contact Janet Hiser, Director of Communications and Advancement, at janet.hiser@austenriggs.net or you may phone her at [413] 931.5333.

[This article is adapted from an interview by Sherry Little with Janet Hiser, which appears on the Alumni Blog.]

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