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Using Google Docs for Neighborhood Watch

I have been using Yahoo Groups along with my neighbors to communicate and collaborate for our crime watch group. We have used this very effectively for over 6 years now.

There are things that need to be done from time to time: as people move in and out, we need to update the Yahoo Group membership, email addresses and other contact information. I tried using the Yahoo Groups Database to collaborate with other group administrators to update the roster and mailing list a couple of times. While this is definitely better than using pen and paper and constantly exchanging sheets of paper, I found that not all people find the Database to be very user-friendly; some people found it somewhat intimidating at times.

I decided to try using a speadsheet in Google Docs to create our new roster with all the updates. I copy-pasted as much information as possible from the Yahoo Group member list on to a Google Docs Spreadsheet first. Then I typed in comments from all the handwritten notes that I had received from my co-admins. I could to all this in about two hours. Once I had that ready, I just shared that Google Spreadsheet with the other admins and gave them edit permissions. Now we all have a convenient, shared, user-friendly spreadsheet using which we can create an updated neighborhood roster quickly and also maintain it as we go.

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