What is it?
Williams is proud to offer Switchboard, a virtual space for alumni, students, faculty, staff and parents that thrives on the trust and generosity of the Williams community. It helps facilitate the informal everyday connections fueled by a shared experience and understanding of what it means to have lived and learned in the Purple Valley.
Switchboard allows Williams people to ASK for and OFFER tangible or intangible things to other Ephs, no matter where they are in the world. Imagine Craigslist but less creepy because it’s specific to the Williams network (alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff) as opposed to everyone anywhere. Your post can reach Ephs anywhere (and knowing Williams people, that could be literally anywhere).
How do I join?
Williams Alumni and Parents
Sign up with your preferred email address or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Google account. We’ll verify your affiliation with Williams, and then you can start connecting!
Alumni who use their @alumni.williams.edu (2000 and older) or @williams.edu (2001 and younger) email forwarding address will be automatically approved.
- Visit the Williams Switchboard site: https://williams.switchboardhq.com/
- Read the Frequently Asked Questions
- Can’t find your answer? Contact Switchboard for technical related issues by clicking here.
- For all other inquiries please email the Office of Alumni Relations at email@example.com or call (413) 597-4151.
How do I get the most out of Switchboard?
Post an ASK/OFFER
Switchboard is powered by two kinds of posts: Asks (“I need something you have!”) and Offers (“I have something you need!”) Your post doesn’t have to be about something big, just something that you’d love to know more about or share is enough to start with. This is the lifeblood of the Switchboard experience, What do you need? What do you have? Chances are, an Eph can benefit from what we can share.
Once a post is up, it has a permanent URL where that post lives. You can copy and paste that and share it with people through your chosen communicative medium, OR you can click on the little airplane icon below a post and share it to Twitter, Facebook, or email with just one click, without leaving Switchboard.Sharing a post is a great way to help someone even if you don’t have the specific information they need, because your network of people is valuable to the person who posted the ask or offer.
If you want to help someone with an ask or take someone up on an offer, we encourage you to comment on the post to assist them, however, if you’re sharing personal information like an address or a phone number, you might want to consider messaging the user who posted it (there’s a little button for that under the profile icon on a post).
How: Click on either the Ask or Offer buttons. Select a category (or more than one), add a compelling title to encapsulate your post, share the details, then add a location (or more than one) and any relevant tags. All these fields factor into the search function, so be sure to include as much information as you can. Also, think about flipping the Ask and Offer model on its head — you might be seeking housing in the form of an Ask, but what if you offered yourself as a model housesitter, capable of gardening and petwalking? While you may lack something specific, what you do have can make you more desirable.
Search and Filter Posts
If you’re looking at Switchboard for the first time, it looks like a chronological list. Once you’re logged in, though, you get another way to browse posts: not one, but TWO search options. There’s a search bar at the top that can search all posts and the Show Me section that allows you to start narrowing down the kinds of posts you see. The Show Me section breaks down posts by the main groupings you use when you create a post: Asks and Offers, the category you post in, and the location. The Show Me bar goes broad rather than deep when it comes to search, whereas the search bar is great for seeking out specific topics.
How: The top search bar can be used to search all things on Switchboard. Just type in what you’re searching for and go! You can use the top search bar solo, in conjunction with the Show Me drop-downs, or you can use the Show Me just on its own. To use the Show Me section, click on any of the drop-down boxes to start narrowing down the list of posts.
Set Up Alerts
This is where Switchboard becomes magical. I have a really hard time remembering to visit things on the internet, but I’m really good at checking my email. An email alert can be general (“I want to receive messages about all Offers or all Asks for Advice.”) or specific, which can be specific to a location, a topic you’re interested in, or the specifics of the work you do or wish to do. For example, I’ve got location specific alerts set up for places I’ve lived before so that I can offer myself as a resource to anyone mentioning those locations, but a location alert could also be useful if I’m looking for friends, a job, or housing in a new place. You can also select how often you receive notifications as well: weekly, monthly, or immediately.
How: You can get to your email alerts by hovering over your profile icon in the top right corner. I recommend setting up one or two for things you definitely care about or would be willing to help with (and one for your location wouldn’t hurt, too).