Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Are We Here - Part 2

I got some good comments on my last post asking why associations are here? (Since that post, I did pick up Clay Shirky's book and am starting to plow through it. Good stuff so far.) Ellen made a good point about professionalism. Many employers want their employees to get professional development and will budget for conferences, training or trade shows. Associations are a key piece of that. I am not sure employers would pay for a person to go to an event created by a Facebook group. (You might get better content from the Facebook group meeting.)

Maddie says content is key and that associations need to be at the forefront. I think the main issue is that associations need to provide a place, the proper tools, and the recognition so that people will give their content to associations rather than other places.

Lindy wants us to be enablers of groups and be the ultimate resource in our industries and not just producers of events.

Ben started this conversation last month and got a number of comments as well.

Here is my take. I agree with Ellen about the professionalism piece. When you hire a plumber, you tend to go for the guy with the nice truck/website/uniform/advertisment or whatever else that makes him/her look more professional than the guy with the beat up pickup truck and cutoff denim shorts. You don't know who the better plumber is, but you are going to go with the more professional one. However, professionalism is only the start. An association must provide value, plain and simple. Each industry will be different, but there must be something worth spending my money on. And I better not be able to get it somewhere else for free.

When it comes to these Web 2.0, self-formed groups, 99.9% will reach a point where they will have a project which will be too big for them to handle without a true management/organizational structure. Or the funds won't be there. Or their employers won't give them the time to work on it. Or the members of the group won't commit because it is just too much. That's where the associations will thrive. And that's where I agree with Lindy in that associations need to embrace these self-formed groups and be there to take the reigns when need be.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BlogClump's Birthday

I was reading Association Marketing Springboard and realized I missed BlogClump's Birthday!

BlogClump turned 1 on June 14th, at which time I was on a plane to Vegas for our tradeshow. Anyway, thanks to all who made it possible and kept pushing me to start one and keep it going. You know who you are, fellow Blogoclumpers...

See you at the YAPpy Hour and/or in San Diego (which is German for, well nevermind).

Why Are We Here?

In my last post, Ben points us to a question derived from Clay Shirky's book (It is tops on my list of books to read right now, I just need to find the time):

Now that forming groups is ridiculously easy, what's the point of "professional group organizers" like association professionals?

Ok, association professionals. Time to defend our salaries. Why are we here? Why are our associations here?

I will post my answers later on, but I want to hear what you have to say!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I am a big believer in social media, as most of you already know. We had good success last week launching the new InfoComm Community. We leveraged our exisiting Facebook and LinkedIn groups to help the launch. Upon checking our Facebook group today, I looked on the right side to see "Related groups" and found one called:

If you can't fix it with Gaffa tape, you haven't used enough.

If you are an AV person of any sort, this is kind of like duct tape for AV people. What I couldn't believe was that 55,000 people were members of this group. Now granted, I think this is the European view similar to ours of duct tape, but 55,000 members. Unreal.

My question is, would an association do better with a Facebook group for their association, or starting a bunch on several specific topics/products and bringing in outsiders? Could be a good membership recruitment thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Social Media Survey

I know I am late to the party on this one (sorry for the delay Jeff), but please fill out the survey on social media.

You have until June 30th. Hopefully this late reminder will help kick in a few responses.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


What a day. All because of the weather. I need to get this off my chest. Everyone needs to start acting with more common courtesy and common sense. This was very evident in the traffic situations caused by the weather yesterday.

When a traffic light is out, it is a 4-way stop, no matter what. Several times on my way to the DC United game, I hit signals that were out. Not a single one was treated like a 4-way stop when I got there. I stopped, but people next to me flew through it. Some even honked at me and passed me on the left to get through. Be smart and show some love to others.

Next, when your lane merges into another on the freeway, don't speed up and fly to the end of the merge area and then try to nose your way in. Especially when it is gridlock anyway. Turn on your signal and wait your turn. Just because you came off a ramp doesn't mean you have priority over someone who has been sitting on the freeway going 1mph for the last 10 minutes. I saw some lady get onto 395 from the Pentagon area last night speed up and nose her way in front of a truck and ended up getting hit by the truck. She gets out of her car and starts complaining to the guy driving the truck. However, she was trying to merge in front of him by speeding into the birm and just jetting over. I bet he didn't even see her, considering she was driving one of those new Saturn Skys. Let one person in, then go. And give the wave when someone lets you in.

I made the mistake of trying to go to the DC United game last night. I spent a total of 5 hours in transit, waiting, getting wet and sitting, all to see a total of 15 minutes of soccer. At least I got a free t-shirt for my $12 in parking costs.

Anyway, be safe out there. And pay it forward...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


So I had a panic moment yesterday that turned out to be liberation. Those familiar with Outlook know that if you hold Shift+Del, it will permanently delete an item (not send it to the recycle bin for later). I do this a lot with spam so I don't have to do another step later to get rid of everything. Somehow I fat fingered the keyboard and it highlighted my whole inbox and killed everything. Poof. Gone.

I look at it this way. The only stuff in my inbox were things I hadn't filed yet or deleted. It was that middle ground stuff that I couldn't decide whether it was important or crap. So now after deleting them all, I figure the important things will reappear. One already has, thank goodness.

It was strangely liberating to see a completely blank inbox for a while. Alas, email purgatory known as my inbox has already started to creep again.