New on Switchboard: Interests, Post Lifespans, and More

New features!


If you've ever used Reddit, you're probably familiar with the AMA, a thread in which the poster invites others to "Ask Me Anything." AMAs aren't dissimilar from Switchboard offers for advice, but they unfold, like a conversation, in real time. They're great for generating curiosity, fostering a sense of community, and giving people concrete leads that they can use to advance their careers.

This week, Oberlin is the first school to launch a Switchboard AMA campaign—and they are rocking it. More than 50 Oberlin alumni will be taking questions this week, and to help things along, we've highlighted their posts in the post feed.

And check out that nested commenting.


As a Switchboard matures, it accumulates thousands of asks and offers about everything from passionfruit to paid internships, and more come in every day.

To help users stay abreast of the latest opportunities, we added interests as another way to customize your Switchboard browsing experience. If you list your interests, we’ll email you about relevant posts. We also invite people to post about topics that others are interested in. We have a lot planned for interests and are excited to see how they can help people get the most out of Switchboard. 

Post Lifespans ⚡️🍃🌲

People come to Switchboard for a diversity of reasons. Some want to offer career advice to as many people as possible. Some just want to give away a mini fridge. We thought it strange to treat those two kinds of posts the same, so we created post lifespans to differentiate them.

Posts can now be marked as ephemeral, deciduous, or evergreen based on their shelf life.

If an offer or ask will be relevant for two weeks or less—you have free tickets to a concert, say, or are looking for event volunteers—you can mark it as ⚡️ephemeral⚡️. For those two weeks, we’ll boost its position in search and mark it with a lightning bolt so more people see it. After two weeks, we’ll demote the post in search results and ask you to close it. These features help people find your post when it matters and keeps Switchboard clutter-free when it has expired.

If your ask or offer will remain relevant for a while, but not forever, marking it as 🍃deciduous🍃 is the way to go. All posts are deciduous by default, and they don’t receive any special treatment in search results.

If your post is an offer that will remain open forever, mark it as 🌲evergreen🌲 to let your community know. Evergreen posts get boosted in search results and marked with an evergreen tree to highlight their importance. They’re also highlighted in user profiles.

Security features

Switchboard moderators can now upload blacklists of email addresses and names, in addition to the whitelists they could already create. This feature will help our partner schools keep their Switchboards secure and shorten moderation queues for communities that require new users to be approved by an administrator.

We’ve also added encryption to private messages to keep your private communication with other users even more private than before.

Other tweaks

We added meta tags to posts so that the body text of the post will show up in the preview when you share the post on Facebook and Twitter.

To make it a little easier for users to login, we created error-specific messages to show to people when they get their email address or password wrong.

We also made our campaigns banners prettier! Now you can make announcements to your community more stylishly than ever.

Plus a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that is making Switchboard better quietly.

Onward and upward! 🚀
Team Switchboard

Learn more about Switchboard's alumni engagement platform.