Sunday, December 30, 2007

2 Books You Should Read

Anyone who knows me well, knows I don't read a lot of books. I mean truly read, cover to cover. I spend my time reading blogs and magazines (Inc., Fast Company, Associations Now, Forum). But, I have been trying to get better about it. I have recently read several of Seth Godin's books (love them). But over the holidays, I have read 2 books that I must recommend.

The First 90 Days - Michael Watkins
This book is subtitled: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels. If you are moving into a new position of any kind, especially CEO level, this book is perfect. It would also be helpful to read before you interviewed for such a position. Lots of good info and ways of looking at things.

The New Recruit - Sarah Sladek
This book is subtitled: What Your Association Needs to Know About X, Y and Z. All this talk about the generations is put into a nice, short read. Packed with good info and examples, this is the book to get your boss if he/she doesn't understand the generational thing and is content doing things the same as they have always been done. I could see getting this book for everyone in your organization, including your board.

My next read is Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow. I have started this one and am inspired to write something about how this can be applied to associations. It may end up too much for a blog post, but we shall see.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Probably Late with This One

I am probably late to the party on this one, but I just started using Pandora, the online radio service from the Music Genome Project.

This is the coolest thing ever. You can create a radio station starting with one artist. Then you can add various other artists or songs to the stations and it finds other similar music for you based on the musical qualities of that song (not other's recommendations and listening habits). Then as it plays songs, you can give them thumbs up and down to help you station learn. You can create multiple stations, learn about the artists, and more - all in an easy to use interface.

If you haven't checked it out, you should. You will quickly become addicted.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Now Have Texting

Up until now, I have not had text messaging. Primarily because it hadn't blown up when I owned my own phone. And the company didn't give me a phone that had texting turned on. Until now. I have have a smart phone, with a data plan, so I can text. I was never a big texting guy. I didn't really get it. Why wouldn't you just call that person. Well, having spent this past weekend in Vegas with some buddies, I now know why. It came in very handy. Some places were too loud to hear, but you could text. It helped me find my group.

So, I have now joined Twitter as CardCat. (CardCat is a combination of my school's mascots: Cardinals and Bobcats.) We shall see.

I am accepting Twitter thoughts, ideas, hints and comments.

New Web Service - Fuser.com

A friend of mine is leading the development team of a new online app - Fuser.com

"Fuser is the coolest way to unify your mail from multiple accounts. View your mail and social networking messages in one convenient location. It's easy and secure."

For those that hate having to look at MySpace, Facebook, and all their different email accounts, Fuser puts it in one convenient place. Very easy. Check it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More on ASAE

It just so happens that one of my staffers was looking into Circle Club today. Turns out, we will save a good bit of money by joining Circle Club since we attend a lot of events. It would make sense for us, and since my membership is coming due, I will probably be the one to do it.

But guess what? No where on my membership invoice can I add Circle Club. I am pretty sure someone is missing an opportunity here. What if my invoice listed all the things I bought this year and told me how much I would have saved with Circle Club?

Don't worry ASAE. I won't charge you a consulting fee for that one. :)

Latest from Fast Company

In the latest edition of Fast Company (which I read on the plane to and from the Forum Holiday Showcase) they profiled a neat new site for managing your finances.

www.mint.com

I just started playing with it and love it. It takes your online personal banking to the next level, without having to worry about MS Money or Quicken. You can categorize expenses, budget, see breakdowns and more. Check it out.

I also like Robert Scoble's article about social media in relation to the presidential campaigns. He calls it the "starfish" approach, which I think could work well for associations.

Lastly, be sure to read Chip and Dan Heath's (keynote at 2006 Great Ideas) article about getting back in the box.

ASAE Seems Expensive to Me

I just got my first renewal notice in the mail. $265. That seems a bit high to me. I was looking at the Technology Conference. $695. That is the only price point (unless you are a non-member). The conference has 2 days of education, which is nice. And I guess $695 isn't totally outrageous for that, but what about us folks who might just want to troll the trade show portion? I have a feeling exhibitors might like that. And exhibit space costs seem a bit on the low side.

I love ASAE and what they do. I am just wondering if they might be better off with a lot lower costs to members. I am sure I will hear about breadth and quality of programs, etc. But I still think there might be better ways to price many of their items.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trade Show Floor and Final Thoughts

The show floor was nice. Lots of hotels and CVBs, probably 90%. the floor was very similar to ASAE Annual. They had nice refreshments and 2 drink stations where 2 CVBs had provided one drink ticket each to attendees. I didn’t partake, as I jetted off to try to beat the weather and take an earlier flight home. Luckily, I got on the flight and made it home early (to my wife's delight).

Thanks again to Greg Fine and the rest of the Forum staff. They put on a good show and I enjoyed being a part of it. I hope you all enjoyed my posts. Now back to my real job ;)

Great Idea for Lunch

Those drums I heard were actually a theater troupe that was the lunch entertainment. When you walked over to lunch, you had a choice: Time to Energize or Time to Relax. Take Time is the overall theme this year. Time to Energize was in the Grand Ballroom and had the theater troupe dressed like Mardi Gras parade goers (I guess) and was lively and loud. Outside that room was the place to relax and continue conversations without the noise and excitement. I love this idea. How many times are you at a meeting and wish you could just talk to folks instead of hearing the entertainment? Only downside - cash bar for those that wanted to continue their drinking. I stuck with water and lemonade.

One side note on the Hyatt. I love that there is free wireless down in one area of meeting rooms (where we were this morning). The network is Hyatt Regency Foyer. However, in the main lobby, this network isn't available. This network isn't available one level up (I am in the subconcles of this building) or where lunch is being served. A little strange. I had to walk back here in order to find service.

The Pre-Lunch Reception

I have to give them credit, the drinking started at 10:45 am. This group is big on receptions and talking. So the morning reception featured bellinis, bloody marys and mimosas. I hear there is more booze on the show floor. It might be a nice flight home.

One observation. During sessions, everyone seems to be a sponge. Not a whole lot of dialogue. Then, once the session is over, it is too loud to hear yourself think with all the talking and networking going on. Just a little different than ASAE Annual or other events. Just a different dynamic than I am used to.

Off to lunch. They have a drummer going through and leading the crowd to lunch. Good idea, it is working.

Next at the Showcase

There is now a reception and the trade show. My battery is getting low, so I will post once I get recharged, maybe from the airport. (I hope the weather holds)

Alpana Singh Takes Center Stage

Alpana Singh is a famous sommelier with books and a TV show. The show is called Check, Please and is a local Chicago show. I will let you read her bio here. She spent the beginning of the session just going over her history and how she got into wine. One great comment - in Europe wine is viewed as a necessity where in the US it is viewed as a luxury.

As a wine-wannabe, this was great. She taught herself everything and became a master sommelier. It was nice to hear she drinks many under $15.

I have my other blog that I haven't posted on enough in the last year, but check out the history. 10 Dollar Wines

Another cool wine site is WineLog.net. You set up an account and can track ratings, get recommendations, etc. This didn't exist when I started my blog. I was using it a lot a while ago, which explains my big gap in posts on my blog. I was blogging for WineLog under the name CardCat.

Back to Alpana, she is very funny and knowledgeable. I am going to have to check out her show. The whole talk was about her and wine, types of wine and pairings, nothing association related. Normally I would be a bit bummed because I wouldn't have a work-related takeaway, but since I love wine, this was great.

Standing room only.

Hilarious Side Note

The speaker's bureau person who is introducing the keynote is reading from a set of notecards, head down most of the time.

Knowledge Lab

I really like this idea. The Forum put 5 stations in a room and have it running all morning. People can hop in and out as they please. The 5 stations are focused on social media and Web 2.0. Very basic, but I am glad they have it. Each station had about 20 chairs and they were almost all full when I walked through. I am happy to see more association folks learning about Web 2.0.

However, I am that guy. I am the only one with a laptop out. The only one in my session, and now the only one in the Center Stage (keynote) session.

More from DTJ Presentation

Looking at who is paying the dues, what do you do marketing-wise when the employer is paying the dues? Try cause and effect scenarios versus traditional listings of features and benefits.

Are you giving members the tools to use Word of Mouth to recruit new members? Do you have enough tools in general to let members talk to others about what you are doing, not just recruit?

The session is over now. Good stuff. Even though I have read the report and seen some of this presentation before, I always get something new out of it.

First Session

There are some good choices of opening sessions.

Decision to Join
Coaching - The Lost Leadership Art
Planning Multicultural Meetings
Content Delivery
Form 990 - Changes and Implications

I started to go to Content Delivery, but saw the handouts before it started. It was a great summary of different delivery methods, etc. but looked a little to basic for me. So I am now sitting in Decision to Join. Sheri Jacobs is presenting on findings from DTJ. Carylann Assante was supposed to be here, but got stranded by weather.

DTJ has boatloads of great information. I wish there was a companion piece for trade associations, but no luck.

There was a great part showing what the most important functions of an association are to the various generations. Networking rated highest with younger folks and the scale dropped with each older generation. Also, with younger workers, high priorities in career development, job information, and training rated as most important, but had the least satisfaction. "They value networking and professional development the most, but lack the resources to attend in-person meetings."

One good way to vary delivery is with small pieces of information. Many can't digest full newsletters. MarketingProfs.com has small newsletters where you choose topics and they email you small, snack-sized bites of information.

Another way to get younger members involved and double check your offerings is to invite younger members to be part of your seminar selection committee.

I don't want this post to get too long, so I will check in later with more.

Starting the Day at the Holiday Showcase

Luckily, the signage was great and I was able to find everything just fine. However, one little snafu while trying to get my badge. I didn't get mine ahead of time through the mail due to my tardiness in registering. There were plenty of badge holder pickup stations had I had my badge already. Since I didn't, I needed to go to the registration line. There were 4 stations, but the lines weren't clearly defined. A staff person or volunteer tried to get people in a 4th line, but that only caused issues as people in the back ended up ditching those who had been waiting. Luckily, the line fixed itself. At the same time, the GES staff started putting out line dividers, which would have been good, but not while the lines are already there. The dividers ended up cutting the lines, so that they shifted from up and down to side to side. Suddenly, the people who were second in each line became 7th, 8th and 9th. Oops.

A very minor thing, but as I have attested before, I am a trade show snob.

I got my badge, a nice bag and hit the continental breakfast. Yummy food, good coffee (including the Starbucks syrups) and a buzz around the room.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Arrived at the Hotel

Luckily, my flight was on time out of IAD and on time landing at ORD. The Hyatt Regency is nice. It is where we held the council meetings at Annual this past summer. It is fairly massive. Hopefully finding things tomorrow will be easy. I have started to see signs, so I am confident I will find things ok.

I am loving my 32 inch flat screen in my room, I must say. However, I have to get on my soapbox here. Hotels are doing well putting in nice displays. But the picture is still bad, just bigger. Will hotels ever start using HD feeds to maximize the utility of the nice equipment they are installing? I am sure a Professional AV person could help them with that. :)

Anyway, I am looking forward to the sessions tomorrow. I just wish there were more of me here so I could go to more sessions.

Heading to the Forum's Holiday Showcase

I am getting ready to head to hot and sunny Chicago. Oh wait, cold and wintry were the right words. I am going to their Holiday Showcase to blog and offer my opinions.

Full disclosure: the Forum is flying me up and putting me in a hotel tonight in exchange for offering my opinions on this blog.

I will hit the education sessions in the morning, then the show floor in the afternoon. My hope is to live blog a few posts while I am there and a wrap up post when I get back. I haven't been to this event before, but I am looking forward to it. I think these types of events are perfect for members. One day, education and exhibits, not too daunting. Granted, it works perfect for drive-in traffic, but I think I might be able to do these regionally for our members. Who knows?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Content Creation Overload

I like creating content. I do. But I have now reached the point where my ideas and desires for different things to write/blog/vlog have far exceeded my time and energy. Real life and real work are getting in the way. Although I feel like my various content creations have become part of my real life. Anyone else in the same boat? Now what?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reaction to the Keen Article

My BlogPal (I think I am going to Trademark that term) Maddie Grant wrote a post about her encounter with Associations Now magazine. Then she followed up with a post about the Keen Article after being challenged by Acronym's Scott Briscoe. So, here is my take on the whole thing now that I have had a chance to read it.

Keen is mostly worried that we will accept information as fact that isn't. Primarily, as an expert in an area, he is afraid you will believe someone else with less credentials over him. Web 2.0 doesn't vet knowledge, credentials, and status like traditional media. He likes the old way. It works for him. I understand that. It worked for years.

However, it also meant that people that weren't necessarily experts, but that had bits of really good knowledge, never got to share them. Well, now they can.

A lot of what you find on Web 2.0 is crap. I agree. But in the long run, it vets itself. Pages with total garbage get fewer views and go away. The long tail curve goes into effect. The waste goes to the end. It just means you have to sort a little more, but you get a lot more information. You can quickly scan 10 pieces of information and pull out 5 good nuggets. I would much rather do that than read one newspaper story and get 2 nuggets. I learn from having to sort the information as well.

He doesn't bash Web 2.0 all that much. He does see that it isn't going away. And he does acknowledge the need for associations to get involved in order to continue to be the provider of information for its members. All in all, an interesting read. He is a bit elitist, and sounds like a curmudgeon. But in the end, I think he gets it (to a degree).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Think Different Challenge

Jamie Notter tagged me with the Think Different Challenge. It is actually very timely. I have had a few things rattling around in my brain, and I was thinking of way to get them out in a post. This is probably the best way to do it.

My challenge is pretty petty, I will admit. I get fired up when someone doesn't know something they should. That sounds pretty subjective, but here is what I mean. It kills me when co-workers, friends, and even God forbid, members ask questions about things that I know they have already been given information on multiple times. Not so much members, as I know they aren't always looking for the information we give them. But co-workers who ask multiple times about the same thing, when we both have been given the same information drive me up a wall.

I tend to be negative, but not outwordly towards them. I am going to try to think about it differently. We all have different levels of knowledge, different priorities. What I think is important, isn't necessarily important information to retain for others. I am also going to try to look at the ways individual people gather and retain information. Maybe that way I will help mitigate the problem.

This is a good challenge. Without thinking about it this way and writing it down, I would probably just keep muttering under my breath.

I tag the following:
Tony Rossell at Membership Marketing Blog
Norm Brodsky at The Morning Norm
Mark Cuban at Blog Maverick

Here are the rules of the game, as provided to me:

Write a new blog post in which you "think different."

1. State that the post is a part of the Think Different Challenge and include a link and/ or trackback to this post so that readers know the rules of the challenge. 


2. Include a link and/or trackback to the blogger who tagged you.


3. At the end of your post, go ahead and tag some fellow bloggers. Don’t forget to email them to let them know they have been tagged.


4. That's it! Just sit back and enjoy reading people's responses to the challenge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am a Total Idiot

I found another blogger.com blog today and wanted to subscribe. Oops, no RSS feed to be found on the page. Then I realized, I didn't have one either. AH! Luckily, I did have a FeedBurner feed and quickly put their widget on this site. So now, you will see a lovely subscribe feature right under my ugly mug.

Like any good manager, I am going to shift blame to you, my readers, for not making me aware of this problem. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Good Ad

As I was flying home from Vegas, the person next to me was reading the in-flight magazine. It had an Accenture ad with Tiger Woods that I happen to notice. It showed him looking at his little notebook, seeming to digest information about the upcoming hole. It said 40% information, 60% interpretation.

I think that ratio is very applicable in a lot of ways (including the recent debate about DTJ).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

BlogWorld is now over

Day 3 is complete. I am looking forward to going home. The sessions were ok. I saw an interesting presentation from the guy from Instapundit on podcasting. The last session was Mark Cuban, my hero. It was cool, as expected. I introduced myself to him again (I met him in 2002). There was one sentence that he said that was great:

There is no shortcut to change people's desire to give you their attention.

Long story short, people aren't anxious to give you their time. You need to give them a compelling reason to do so.

It seems basic. Good luck!

Friday, November 9, 2007

What to do with a busted session?

Many of us who put on conferences and trade shows end up in the situation at one time or another. A speaker unavoidably gets sick, misses a flight, gets kidnapped, whatever. You have to scramble and make a key decision: Cancel the session or try to get a replacement. Most I have been to take the first choice. Sure, you have some disappointed people, but you give them a chance to go to a different session. If it is your keynote, or the only session going on in that time slot, I vote for the replacement. People usually understand and you didn't pull them away from another learning opportunity.

Unfortunately, my first session at BlogWorld this morning went the replacement route. It meant I missed another session I wanted to attend. I don't blame the replacement. She didn't have enough time to put something together. And you could tell she wasn't that comfortable standing in front of an audience. She had a few decent things to say, but it wasn't as valuable as I had hoped.

My 2 cents: cancel when appropriate.

PS - I met up with my boss who had the same thing at his session. Om Malik from Business2.0 and Michael Arrington from TechCrunch both were no shows, leaving one guy on the panel. You really can't have a panel with 1.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Great session on RSS

I went to a session on RSS by Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read/Write Web. He went through so many cool RSS tools, I feel I should just list them here and let you check them out. Many you may know about, but some you may not.

FeedDigest
Yahoo Pipes
FeedYes
ZapTXT
AideRSS
BlogLines
FeedBurner
OpenID

BlogWorld Day 2

I am waiting for a demo to start in 15 minutes, so I thought I would post real quick. Again, I am a trade show snob. Sorry. But things like not paying attention to your keynote when he is asking for a wireless mic to roam through the audience and letting loud noises repeatedly happen right outside your keynote can be fixed.

The sessions are pretty good, but you are supposed to sign up in advance and only attend what you sign up. This method stinks because some sessions are too basic and you can't leave and go to another. And this conference suffers from ASAE's problem as well. Too many interesting sessions going on at the same time and not being repeated. It is a testament to their relevance, but not ideal for attendees.

Don't get me wrong. This has been great. The show floor is a little small and a little too dedicated to blog revenue companies and web ads. But there are some gems to be found. And I admit association folks are not the key demo. This is probably perfect for the person with a moderately large blog. I was hoping for a little more on the new media side.

Keynote this morning was a guy from Fast Company interviewing the founder of WordPress. Really cool.

Great session on video blogging. I will have more on that when I get back and put our a new 501cTV.

Off to see a demo of MindTouch.

More Resources

This is on the Acronym blog too, but here are more resources for those that heard me talk at The Hats You Wear:

http://blog.missiontolearn.com/blog/2007/11/freeconference.html

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

BlogWorld - Day 1

So I attended the Executive and Entrepreneur Conference today at BlogWorld. This part of the conference had about 150 people. About 1000 more are supposed to be here for the main program on Thursday and Friday.

Overall, my impression so far is good. Good information, but great conversation. However, you can tell that this is the first time this show has happened. They weren't totally setup at the start of the program. Speakers were asked to speak rather than submit seminars, so they were sometimes disjointed. The speakers themselves had lots of knowledge and did a great job engaging the folks in the audience, but the room sets and AV weren't great. Ok, I am a trade show snob. I admit it. But hey, we do put on the fastest growing association run tradeshow!

http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/avindustry_5284.htm

Here are the key points I heard today:
- According to Pew Research, 44% of US online adults are content creators
- Allow evangelists to spread your message, but give them tools to put it in their own voice
- A community already exists around your product/service. It is better if you have it on your own home turf. If you don't engage in the conversation, others will. Then you will join too late.
- If you only post positive comments, you will lose credability
- Think of ROI in terms of Risk of Inactivity

The Hats You Wear Follow Up

The program at ASAE I spoke at on Monday and Tuesday, The Hats You Wear, went very well. At one point, we delved into web 2.0 and social networking. It is very obvious that there is still a big learning curve for us association folks. Right now, as I type, I am at the BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. I will post later today about the conference. One thing people asked about on Monday and Tuesday was the legal risks of blogging, etc. I wanted to give this link to folks:

http://w2.eff.org/bloggers/lg/faq-overview.php

Here is another:

http://blogrisk.com/

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Hats You Wear

I am both nervous and excited. Monday and Tuesday, I will be teaching the membership portion of The Hats You Wear program that ASAE has put together. The outline looks wonderful and kudos to the ASAE staff (Libby and Brian) for all their hard work. I will be teaching with Steve Rauchenecker from CCIM Institute.

The attendee list is about 70 with all types of job titles and associations attending (including fellow blogoclumper Maddie Grant). The program has tracks in Membership, Finance and Law with each running concurrently, but being offered both days.

If you are in attendance, please introduce yourself!

PS - Don't forget to fall back an hour this weekend! More sleep = good!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

West Coast Trip

I have just returned from Seattle and Anaheim. In Seattle we did a regional meeting for our members as well as had a booth at EduCause and a reception. Overall, everything went really well, except for my illness right before I left. I then went to a wedding in Anaheim. You could smell the smoke of the fires in the air, but no problems for the bride and groom.

We have another regional meeting in 2 weeks, but luckily we are hosting it here at HQ for the DC area members. But before that, I am off to BlogWorld. I must give credit to the BlogWorld CEO for commenting on my BlogWorld post. The web now allows you to have Google Alerts to certian things so you can always know what people are saying about you. It gives you the chance to join the conversation. Rick Calvert decided he wanted to join the conversation on my blog. Although I am sure only a handful of people saw his comment, it was positive. He showed interest and wanted to extend the conversation.

Are you joining the conversation about your association offerings? If you aren't, shouldn't you be? It could be the difference between an attendee/member and an evangelist.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Social Media at its Best

I was on Facebook this morning because someone left me a comment about 501cTV. Thanks Andy! I happened to click on my hometown as I was debating changing it from where I grew up to where I live now. The link put me on the friend search page listing other Facebook-ers from my hometown that are now in DC.

Crazy enough, I happen upon someone from ASAE that I talk to and work with on some assignments for the Membership Section Council. Turns out, we went to the same college (my grad, his undergrad) and were there at the same time. It also turns out we grew up in the same sub-division.

Without Facebook, I may have never known about all these commonalities. Who knows when he and I would have chatted about hometowns?

Go Bobcats!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Making Contact

We probably all have several stories we can recount of excellent or awful customer service. I recently received a cold e-mail from someone hawking speaker services. I replied and asked to be taken off their list. (I don't hire speakers.) Five days later, I get an email from the same person. This email says, "I contacted you about a month ago..." No, you didn't. It was five days. And I didn't want to be contacted again anyway.

Had I only received one email, and needed to hire a speaker, I might have at least considered using them. Now? Not a chance. I did email back and said told the person it had only been five days and could you please remove me from the list. This time, I got a response within an hour apologizing and offering very believable excuses (we all have bad days, I know.) But, damage done.

When you make contact with your members, are you making sure that no damage is being done?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Next Week's 501cTV

Ok, I am going to start working on next week's edition of 501cTV over the weekend. I need some ideas, thoughts, or things you want covered. I need people to profile, tips, blogs, events. Let me know if you have anything.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

501cTV is Here!

OK, so I am a geek. Along with this blog, I have now launched 501cTV.com. 501cTV is my new web-only video show/blog where I will talk about a bunch of different things in association and non-profit land. Some segments are sponsorable, so feel free to help me offset my costs. The first edition is up and running. I am using blog software, so you can add this to your RSS list. I will try to do one every week.

Enjoy, and I look forward to your comments.

http://www.501ctv.com/

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Going to BlogWorld

I am very excited. My boss and I are venturing to Las Vegas next month for the BlogWorld and New Media Expo. I am not sure how I stumbled upon this conference, probably in Inc., Fast Company or Business 2.0 (see PS below). But since we are going to start using more blogs and social media at our association (finally!) I convinced my boss we needed to go. I am going to be good however, and attend sessions as an association employee, not as a sports and association blogger. However, I am sure I can't help but think of those 2 while I am in sessions. But I did hold back my desire to sign up for some of the sports blogging track programs.

Anyway, if any other blogoclumpers are going to be out there, let me know!

PS - Did anyone else see that Business 2.0 magazine is going out of print? I was very sad to see a cover on my last issue telling me that the run was over. I really liked B20.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

User/Customer Generated Content

A while back, I got an email from ING Direct, the online bank. I am a customer, one with multiple products and several monthly direct deposits. The email was touting a contest where customers were asked to write a brief essay with the following:

How you have set, achieved or are on track to achieve a specific saving goal;
Details on why you selected that particular goal and the timeframe you set to achieve your goal;
Roadblocks you faced or are facing along the way to your goal;
Adjustments you made or may need to make to achieve your goal; and
The final result of your efforts, or the expected result.
AND…

You also must submit a photograph (no videos will be accepted) to us that illustrates your saving goal.


They offered up one grand prize of $10,000 and 25 first prizes of $1,000 each. They received over 10,000 entries. Winners can be found at: http://www.roadtohappinesscontest.com/

How great would it be to get all that content for a mere $35,000? How great would be it to get all that qualitative research about how your customers are using your products, the challenges they face and some of the solutions they came up with to conquer those challenges? Talk about real market research.

As an association, why not make the lives of your members better by giving them a substansial reward to get relevant market research and solid content?

Connecting through LinkedIn

We all talk about Web 2.0 and connecting with virtual communities and new people through social networking. I am happy to say I do more than talk about it, as I have met some great people through doing this blog among other things. Some I have met in person, some only through comments and email (but I feel like I have met them).

I am a member of LinkedIn, like many. Whenever I search for someone on LinkedIn, I always seem to get a list of people that are 3 degrees away. It doesn't seem like many, until you see the graphic on the side. It is like the story about a friend of a friend of a friend. It seems too distant for you to really relate or know the person. So to be introduced to that person through LinkedIn, you send an email to your connection, who then must agree to send it to their connection who is connected to the person you want to meet, so you need one more introduction. All in all, to make this work you are counting on someone you know and someone you don't know to both introduce you to a person you don't know, who has to agree to meet you (virtually).

I tried it for the first time last night. And honestly to my huge disbelief (I am not sure why I was so worried it wouldn't work), within 15 hours I had an email in my box from the person I was trying to meet. (Thank you to my connection, you know who you are)

I have received 3 phone calls/emails from people who found me on LinkedIn. 2 were sales calls and one needed help with a project. I know some folks are down on LinkedIn, but I am a fan right now.

Is anyone using LinkedIn to try to recruit new members?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Back from Vegas

I took a 5 day vacation to Vegas since the wife had to go out there for a conference. It was one of the few times I have been to Vegas where I wasn't working a show or going crazy with the guys. I saw the NASCAR Truck race at the speedway on Saturday thanks to my boy Will. Saw P. Diddy while chilling at the pool at the Wynn. Made the final table of a poker tournament (but missed the money). All in all, a good time.

I did keep up with email, but there is a lot of other stuff to do around here. Budgeting for 2008, upcoming elections, upcoming events, etc. I definitely like being busy instead of slow. But I now realize that I really hate being busy, but not being able to do anything because I am waiting on something from someone else. That seems to be the order of the day. Hurry up and wait. Sometimes it feels like half a day is wasted on just waiting to be able to do something.

Luckily, it is Friday, and whatever is on my desk can wait until Monday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More on Sharing

Norm Brodsky has another take on sharing.

http://blog.inc.com/the-morning-norm/2007/09/dont_be_afraid_to_share_your_idea.html

As one who constantly has new business ideas, I have always thought about whether or not I should tell other people. The people I most wanted to tell my ideas to or get advice from were the ones who has the talent, smarts and know how to help me. That also means they had the talent, smarts and know-how to take the idea and actually make it happen. That's why I wanted to share with them. Don't you always want input from smarter folks? Sometimes I was scared to share. But after reading Norm, I think he is right. Get the insight from smart people then run with it.

Where are the Conversations Happening?

I read an article in a meetings magazine about social media. Someone talked about a forum and/or listserv as where they got the most out of their membership to a particular association. In our association, we are looking at adding more blogging/forum/wiki features for our councils, etc. to enhance the listservs we currently offer. I think it will result in more participation and better conversation. Do you know where your conversations are taking place?

That got me thinking about being a Membership professional. Where do the conversations about membership issues take place? The ASAE listserv seems to be #1, but many of those emails aren't really conversations, but requests for recommendations of good vendors or requests for examples of things. I would say the blogoclump has been where the conversations are taking place. Should there be another place? Should there be a community just for membership professionals? Is there already one I don't know about?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To Share or Not to Share, That is the Question

Maddie has a good post over at Diary of a Reluctant Blogger where she mentions sharing. I was just going to comment, but then realized it was its own post. (Don't you just love how that happens?)
3) Sharing benefits the field. In fact, there's no benefit to NOT sharing information. Listing our events all together makes the profession look good,
like there's a bunch of cool things happening all over town. In comparison,
listing only one "own" monthly lecture just looks flimsy. And that's just the
tip of that iceberg.

There have been many times where I thought some sharing would do a lot of good. But then the reaction I get is, "won't it dilute the power of what we do and make us look just like the other group/association, or worse yet, confuse our brand with their's?" It is an honest question. How can you properly share information while keeping the integrity of everyone's efforts/brand/message in order to maximize benefit? I think it can be done. But then the tough question becomes, how do you break down the mentality that it can't be done, so why bother trying?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ben Gets It

As most of my readers probably already know, Ben Martin gets this whole social media thing and how to apply it to associations. Here is an interview with Ben about his new position from a different blog:

http://www.realcentralva.com/2007/09/04/virginia-association-of-realtors-steps-into-the-web-20-world-part-1-of-3/

Well Done Ben!

Customer Service

Ok, so this may not be the place for this, but I see a lesson here for association folks. My sister-in-law just got a used car that needed a part. She got a 2002 Mustang and it needed a new wheel and brakes. She took it to the shop and they could do the brakes, but didn't have a matching wheel. So my brother-in-law found the wheel online from a Mustang focused shop called Cruizin Concepts Wholesale (I won't link to them). It took a few days to get a "paid" invoice which said the product would ship in 2-4 business days. On the 4th business day, maybe 5th, we called because it didn't show up. Turns out, it was lost by UPS. It had a tracking number, but was never scanned or something.

So a week was wasted and we had a chance to buy 4 almost new mustang wheels from a neighbor. So for the quick fix, we did that and then the nightmare began. When my wife called the CCW folks, they said they would find out what happened and call back. They didn't. My sister-in-law called to follow up, the CSR was not very accomodating, and told her that she'd get a call back. They didn't. Turned out they reshipped without clarifying that that was what the customer wanted. In a 90 minute call the next day, CCW chastised us for waiting to call when it didn't arrive (though according to their invoice, we shouldn't expect it that early). Then was bitter when we didn't want to pay for the wheel or the shipping, even when he failed to call back. He said the call was just a courtesy (that he didn't make). I'll give the CSR this, after being told that he was being very rude, his tone improved. Though at the end of the call, he had the nerve to try to upsell. We suggested he make this right by covering the to and from shipping costs that he insisted were our responsibility, and try to win over a new Mustang owner who may need future parts. He actually said he couldn't justify losing money on shipping for the chance at a future purchase. WOW. I can't believe it. Oh, and best line ever, during his rude tyrade he told my wife that he had been doing customer service for years and was compensated well for it so it obviously couldn't be his fault. Hilarious.

Anyway, 2 things. Don't shop there, ever. And 2, how are you treating your non-members?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How Do You Ask Google to Fix Something?

I have a Google Alert set for my name: Matt Baehr. I also occasionally run a Google search on my name: Matt Baehr. So on both, why do I keep getting results for Matt Bahr? Yes, he was a great NFL kicker. I even have an autographed photo of him a friend got me because our names were so close.

The search results have gotten better. At first, only one thing on me was on page 1, the rest were Matt Bahr. Now he is only on the first page 4 times (but positions 1 and 3). However, my latest Google News alert has him at every entry. I am not all that vain, but this is annoying. He doesn't even play anymore!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Growth and Mission

I feel bad. Another long break between posts. I had 2 travel stints, neither of which were work related, that kept me from blogging. I am catching up on reading some other blogs and saw the great discussion on Acronym about growth. It was so good, there was a follow up post. I just commented, but wanted to say a few more things.

I get kind of annoyed at all the mission and vision talk that goes on. It is probably from my MBA class days where it was always tossed around like a catch all answer to every question. The two terms just lost meaning for me. I like to add the two and form one other phrase = Why are you here? If you can't answer that as an association, or an individual staffer, then there will be issues. Forget jargon. Boil it down to one simple thing. Then do what needs to be done to get there.

For us, growth just means more money to play with so that we may add, subtract, or tweak program and services so that members get more out of the association. And I think growth happens as a result of our adding, subtracting, or tweaking of programs and services. I know I am really oversimplifying things, but at the same time I think they are simple.

Long story short, growth is a nice-to-have so you have more money to do new things. It shouldn't be a strategy. It should be a result of your doing the answer to the question, why are you here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where Did the Summer Go?

I can't believe I haven't posted in 9 days. That's what happens when you are out of the office for a while...and then will be out of the office again. I have a wedding and 2 work trips to Atlanta coming up. 3 straight weekends of travel, plus a few days on either side. And of course, it is time to start thinking about 2008 budgets. This summer seemed to fly by. Different events changed their dates slightly which changed my summer entirely.

We know how a slight change can make everything around it change greatly. We experience the Butterfly Effect all the time. Are you making sure that when you do something or change something, that you are looking at the bigger picture on how it changes things for your members?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Really Back in the Office

Today is my first full day in the office in 2 weeks. Kind of crazy. After getting back from Chicago, we had our leadership forum for about 75 members. That was followed by another member summit. I was very happy to sleep in my own bed on Saturday night. Today I did my voluminous expense reports, and started going through my learning journal from ASAE Annual. Here is a snapshot of some of my ideas:

- Share our association photos that we took at our trade show using Flickr, or something similar
- Repurpose some video we have and create a video members can put on their websites about careers in our industry
- Create an Evangelist toolkit we can give to our evangelical members to help them spread the word
- Do more smaller, regional events to cover more area
- See which members are blogging about our industry

Some seem like no-brainers, but sometimes you just need that shot in the arm. Anyone doing any of these?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back in the Office from ASAE Annual Meeting

I got back from Chicago yesterday around noon, and headed straight back into the office. Lots to catch up on. In fact, as I type this in the office today, I turn around this afternoon and head up a Leadership Conference for some of our members up in Bethesda. I am excited for next week, when I can actually go through all my notes and figure out how I can implement some of the ideas that the sessions sparked. I think I have a manageable amount coming out of Annual Meeting, which is less than the Great Ideas conference, but might be easier to deal with.

Which brings me to this question. Would you rather have a boatload of ideas and only be able to act on a few, or have a few ideas where you can act on all of them?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Great Terms from ASAE

I saw an interesting session today by Douglas Rushkoff. He gave a graduate-level Sociology class in one hour. Great stuff. My favorite part was three different terms. I am sure you can figure out the definitions.

Commodification (or commodified)
Ass-Holic
Complexification

Gotta love it.

BTW - an earlier post of mine was featured in today's Daily Now.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thanks to Anaheim VCB

I appreciate the dinner they hosted tonight in Chicago. It was wonderful. Smith and Wolensky right on the water. Thanks Anaheim Visitors and Convention Bureau. In the interest of full disclosure, I found out about it through a pesky postcard. However, it came on a day where I didn't get any others, and it came from a source I already had a relationship with. Either way, thanks to Anaheim.

ASAE 2007

We are 2 days into the ASAE Annual Meeting. I had a great Membership Section Council meeting on Saturday. My session: A Membership Idea Swap for Trade Associations was well attended. I think folks got a lot out of it. Saw a wonderful White Sox game Saturday night. Today, I saw a great session by Jackie Huba, who has a couple books and a great blog. I have several pages of ideas to take back to the office.

Isn't that what this is for? I know there are exhibits, but I don't do a lot of meetings where I need to talk to CVBs. I am not in the market for a new AMS. So for me, I just want some ideas and A-HA moments I can apply back at my association. So far, so good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

True Purpose of a Membership Professional

As I am sitting in the San Francisco Airport ready to leave for Chicago, I was thinking. Scary thought, I know. What is the true purpose of a membership person? And you are not allowed to say "all of the above." Choose one. Go out on a limb.

1) Represent the industry
2) Represent the current membership
3) Represent the association

Yes, they cross over. And by represent, I also mean "do what is in the best interest of..."

Pick one to guide your daily decision making process. Who wins?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Holy Postcards Batman!

I was off on Friday to go to Ohio for a wedding. I came back today to check my mailbox to find several dozen postcards. I can't believe how many ASAE exhibitors are sending pre-show postcards. Come visit booth #XXXX to learn about whatever. I am curious. Does anyone have any ROI numbers on these types of things? You have a pretty good handle on your both ROI, but I can't imagine you are getting much bang for your buck out of the postcard trick. Maybe a few people stop by that wouldn't have, but then you still have to sell your product at the booth. Yikes.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pay vs. Free

I am hoping to get some input and some opinions on this one. When it comes to various courses, seminars, consumer products, etc., there is an assumption that if something has a high price that it is more valuable than something with a lower price. There are numerous examples of people getting slow sales, only to raise prices and get more sales. In the association world, we are expected to provide value in various ways to our dues paying members. Some of that is with free member-only benefits, some with member discounts, and some are other varieties (advocacy, goodwill, etc.)

So how do you decide what is free versus discounted versus full price? Are you willing to take a loss on certain things? What is your criteria?

Do share...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

8 Habits Tag

I am not going to lie. I have never been a huge fan of chain letters or those "get to you know your friends" things. But Ben has tagged me with an 8 Habits deal. Just for you Ben, but I won't pass it on to anyone specifically. However, feel free to comment your own 8 habits.

1. I, too, shave in the shower. I have a wet/dry electric. It is tough without a mirror, so I usually have to go over once the mirror defogs.
2. I, too, enjoy fans and white noise when sleeping. However, I don't travel with any.
3. Each morning I walk the dog right after I get dressed and before breakfast. Usually the same route through my neighborhood.
4. When I get to work, I have a list of sites I look at each morning after I have answered my work email.
5. I am a complusive email checker. I get online and check email while watching TV at night.
6. I love my DVR and have appointment TV viewing. Last night was Rescue Me on FX. Great show. Got home late from dinner downtown, but was able to start the recording and fast forward through commercials. Brilliant.
7. I always try to get aisle seats when I fly. Just like it that way.
8. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I try to get something different off the menu. Unless I have been there enough times I have a staple of dishes I like. Then I just get one of those that I am in the mood for.

Now that you all know the above about me, feel free to buy me a morning (but not too early) aisle seat to fly to LA to see a taping of Rescue Me and get me dinner somewhere I haven't eaten with a hotel that has free wi-fi.

The ClumpChat 1.0 Era is Over

ClumpChat 1.0 has gone the way of a new Fox reality show...cancelled. Turns out too many random chatters could get into the room and ooze dirty talk and spam. Upon trying to password protect the room, the embed function failed. Therefore, you won't see it up on my site or Ben's anymore.

We will work on it, and you may see a re-release with version 1.01.

Should You Listen?

David Freedman writes an excellent article in Inc Magazine about listening to customer feedback. He talks about several companies who have various feedback methods, but choose to ignore some of the complaints. In light of certain companies "firing" customers lately, this article doesn't necessarily suggest going that far, but it does say take the feedback with a grain of salt. Is this person just the squeaky wheel? Would fixing their complaint change your core product or service?

This can be true for membership organizations. I remember getting blasted by a member because we sent out a CD with an auto-run feature that apparently isn't liked by Macs. It can still work though. This avid Mac user went ballistic in an email. Turns out he wasn't even a good fit for our association. I looked at our market research and found that only a few percent even used Macs. He didn't renew the next year, but that wasn't a surprise. One complaint in 5,000 shipped discs.

On the surface, it is easy to say that you wouldn't have changed your process for 1 complaint in 5,000. But, how many times do we knee jerk into fixing things that maybe aren't really broken? Maybe one person sees it as broken, but they really just need glasses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ClumpChat 1.0

Attention all readers and other association bloggers:

Ben Martin found a great tool so that we can chat while blog surfing. We have added the ClumpChat widget to our respective sites (His Blog). This chat room will be held on multiple Blog-O-Clump chat rooms so that anyone on any blog that has this installed can talk to each other.

If you have a blog and want to add it, simply go to: http://wwwl.meebo.com/room/clumpchat10/

Then just click on the Embed button and put it on your blog. Hopefully this will continue the conversation. Enjoy...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Association Careers

One of my regular blog reads is the Dilbert Blog. Having worked in corporate cubes and lived the movie "Office Space," I enjoy Scott Adams. His latest post on Career Advice got me thinking:

Which 2-3 things should someone be good at (top 25%) in order to make a great association person?

Here are my three (in no particular order):

1. Listening
2. Communication (written/verbal)
3. Organization/Detail

Honorable mention goes to Creativity.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Generational Issues

The latest Acronym post about Generational Issues got me thinking. I thought about writing a comment, but figured this deserved its own post. I am going to take the contrarian route, maybe spark some discussion. Feel free to tell me I am wrong, or maybe agree with me (as everyone should).

Aren't we making too big a deal about the generational differences? Don't things evolve with the times? As staff turns over and new ideas are introduced, don't they inherently reflect the attitudes and ideas of their particular group?

I know that you want to be proactive and you have to have a plan for the future to make sure you are still viable, but will you really need to change your entire business model? I know that there will be some extreme cases where that will be true as certain products become obsolete, but in most cases it won't.

It is nice to generalize and stereotypes exist for a reason. But not every group is going to change how they do business just because Gen X differs from Gen Y in how they deal with authority or their relationship with their parents.

Don't get me wrong. Understanding the differences can help in many ways. I just feel like we are starting to use the Generations issue as the crux of all planning and strategy, and I don't think we should. It is way too broad and simplistic.

Ok - start the rukus!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Shameless Plug

Andrew Calhoun from the Advanced Medical Technology Association and I will be leading an Idea Swap for Trade Associations at the ASAE Annual Meeting. What a way to kick off your Annual Meeting professional development!

Saturday, August 11
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Engage in dialogue with your fellow trade association executives about the issues that keep you up at night. Are you worried about your membership recruitment and retention, dues structures, or even mergers? Share your ideas, experiences, and processes for keeping your members connected.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ASAE Annual Meeting Events

Maybe it is because I am a year older. Maybe it is because I am leading a session this year. Maybe it is because I have a blog that gets DOZENS of hits each month. Who knows the real reason? But I seem to be more popular this year, because I keep getting invited to new vendor events being held at ASAE Annual. Blue Man Group, a movie screening, a night of blues music - what is a guy to do?

Anyone else getting these? Are you going to anything? Are the Cubs in town?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Audio Visual Needs in Meetings

I was working on my ASAE Annual Meeting presentation today and had to request some AV. Working for the AV trade association gives me a little advantage, but also raises my expectations. If you need AV help for your meetings, our association is a good place to start. Just go to www.infocomm.org and use the Buyer's Guide to find local providers. Or just use the simple member search under the Membership tab.

Bad AV can really bring down a meeting. And I would hate to see folks pay too much for bad AV.

You can also find things like video conferencing and training solutions through AV. Good Luck!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Different Options

What a 2 week stretch! Our tradeshow set record numbers in every way out in Anaheim. Everyone is happy. Then, the wife and I got to follow that up with a week in Hawaii. Is there a more perfect place on Earth?

As I was in the Honolulu airport reading a magazine before my red-eye flight, an article was talking about branding and how Toyota makes Lexus and Scion as a way to reach different markets and give different people what they are looking for. Gap does it with Old Navy and Banana Republic. The same company is "making" the products, just a bit differently and marketing and branding them differently. That got me thinking, how can we apply this to association life? Can we, as associations, produce a different member experience in order to garner new members from different segments?

I think you can. It goes back to my Repurposing Article. Take what you have and tweek it enough that it is different from the original, but appeals to a different group. Jeans are jeans and a car is a car. I would rather drive a Lexus, but can only afford a Toyota. If someone is saying that about your association, how can you please them?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Time for Some Sun

I leave for Anaheim tomorrow for our big trade show. Afterwards, the wife and I are headed to Hawaii for some much needed R&R. Most likely, you won't hear from me until July.

One nugget to get you thinking for the next 2 weeks:

If you were just starting out in an industry, what is the one thing you need to really make your career/business grow? Is your association providing that thing to your members?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Membership Developments Newsletter

The Membership Section Council of ASAE (to which I belong) has a quarterly e-newsletter - Membership Developments. The June issue is out and I was the guest editor. That basically means I had to chase people down for content. I volunteered to write one article linked here. The theme was repurposing, the same as the idea swap I hosted here last week. I tried to time it as well as I can. One week apart isn't bad.

As I get ready to leave for Anaheim this week to meet up with 28,000 of my closest friends in the AV industry, I put my June challenge to you: Find one piece of content you already have that members love and figure out a way to mix it/mash it/change it/deliver it in a new way that will get another segment of your membership to enjoy it.

Another nice piece from Membership Developments was done by my Membership Coordinator, Shana Rieger. It summarizes a list of the top 10 things that Membership professionals would like their executive teams to understand about Membership. Do you have any others to add?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Which Hump is Your Association In?

Seth Godin has a great post today. He talks about 4 models of pricing. In essence, this could be pricing related to any good or service.

  • There is free - you'll move large volume, it will spread fast, but you make no money.
  • There is really low pricing - You won't have money to market heavily or do big campaigns, but you might get some folks who would have never even seen your category.
  • There is reasonable pricing - pretty normal, standard stuff. Everyone expects a certain amount +/- 10%. Slight changes effect numbers slightly.
  • Then there is really high pricing - Think Donald Trump. You pay more for experience or cache of the brand name.
Godin says most firms play with only one option and are scared of even trying the others. Associations should try to play in every bucket to maximize their reach. Varying your offerings and delivery methods will help you extend your mission. But pricing is just as important.

Take a risk. Play in another bucket. What you find might surprise you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Great Brain Dump

Today I hosted the GWASE Membership Idea Swap. Yesterday, I attended the Social Media Unconference. So right now, I am awash in ideas and thoughts regarding all aspects of associations. Normally I have one topic I feel like I should write about, but today there is just too much, but I need to get it all out in one place. So here comes the potpourri of thoughts...

Cool use of blogs, without actually blogging - http://blogs.abiworld.org/

If you are going to start to replace your old guard/boomers, you need to embrace the new, young members and get them involved in championing a new project or technology. And don't fret, it may take a year to get it to catch on.

Can you really, honestly and truthfully answer this question - What value/advantage/knowledge/can't live without thing does someone get from being a member of my association? If you can't, you aren't going to have members for much longer.

There is no one great communication tool to get your message to your members. You have to use them all: phone, email, in person, web, direct mail, blogs, social media, tin can and string...

"If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" If you don't give your members what they need, someone else will and you lose your value. If you wait too long, they'll get it from somewhere else and you lose your value. If you lose your value, you lose your members.

Everyone should make time to go to an Idea Swap or networking event. You'll get at least one good idea or contact that will help you justify the time away from your laptop or blackberry. It will also help to reinvigorate your spirit as to why you do what it is you do.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

LiveBlogging from the Social Media Unconference

I am writing this post primarily because Jamie Notter dared me to do it. Fifteen or so association folks are here at the Marriott Learning Center discussing how they may want to incorporate various bits of social media into their groups. Topics have ranged from wikis, to blogs, to e-learning and more.

It has been interesting to hear what people are doing, what people know, and what people know they don't know. The main thing I have picked up is that you learn through communities, whether formal and in-person or virtual. We have the right people in the room for the discussion, so we are getting out of it what we need.

Does your associaiton's conversations have the right people at the table?

Monday, June 4, 2007

ASAE Idea Swap

To help get great Membership ideas flowing outside the beltway, I volunteered to host the June Idea Swap for ASAE. If you are in NOVA, head on out to Fairfax this Wednesday. The topic is Repurposing Membership Programs (which I write about in the upcoming June Membership Newsletter for ASAE as well).

Details and RSVP instructions can be found here:
http://www.asaecenter.org/ProgramsEvents/EventDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=19229

It is from 12-2 and will be a brown bag lunch affair. Hope to see you there. If not, maybe I will see you tomorrow at the Association Social Media Unconference.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Does Your Association Blog?

One of my tasks today was to setup a blog for our association. This blog will feature 4-5 members as authors and be open for comments. We, as the association, will be there to moderate if need be (delete spam, vulgarity, etc.), but this will be user generated content at its best. Our members have always wanted a way to talk openly about issues, and listservs just didn't seem to cut it. So we are giving it a shot with a neutral, industry topic. The blog/message board/community will be open to the public, but mostly marketed to our members.

If associations aren't doing this for their members, who is? Because I have a feeling that your members want this ability, even if they aren't telling you. And if you, as the association, aren't providing it, then someone else will and your members will be that less inclined to look to you as the source of information.

Joining the Blogoclump

I have been blogging about different things (wine, sports) for a while now. I try to keep up with several of the association blogs and comment when possible as well. After reading friend and fellow blogger Ben Martin's post today, I decided to finally join the conversation. I also have to give credit to Lisa Junker's post about Millenials.

I am a Gen Xer, but towards the younger side. However I would say my profile fits the Xer mold rather than the Millenial mold. Hopefully I can add something to the Blogoclump. If not, then you just aren't trying hard enough.