September 12, 2008

The Emergence of Self Forming Groups

So I was reading an interesting post today on Maddie Grant's blog about whether ASAE is dying. 

In a nutshell, Maddie quoted someone who said that they were getting more value in reading blogs and using Twitter than they were getting from ASAE, due to all of the vendor-related e-mails that they are getting from ASAE. I don't personally agree, and I guess I really haven't seen THAT many vendor-related e-mails from them. Perhaps I am missing them though.

In answering Maddie's question, personally I don't think ASAE is dying at all. 

I actually think that the fact that people are willing to express their displeasure about what they're seeing means that ASAE is actually something they care enough about to talk about what they think (positive or negative.) It would probably be more constructive to tell ASAE what they like or dislike, but either way, it shows that they are invested in the organization.

Maddie also talked about YAP. For me, YAP doesn't take the place of ASAE. It is an added opportunity to engage with association professionals, but it is a different engagement opportunity with people in a similar age and experience range. It's a great supplement to what ASAE offers, and having it I think helps ASAE members get more for their money... (I'm guessing you aren't finding too many YAPstars who aren't members of ASAE also.) I think ASAE also gets a great deal from the unofficial relationship.

I also hate to point this out, but I would guess that the majority of people who are ASAE members are not like the person who was quoted in the original post... Most association executives who are ASAE members likely are not reading these blogs on a daily basis, nor are they using Twitter religiously. Heck, in looking at Principled Innovation's AST Executive Summary, only 51% of associations have any monitoring or some involvement in the blogosphere... That is a relatively small number, which I would guess correlates to the number of ASAE members who are engaged in the actual reading and monitoring of blogs regularly. Perhaps I am wrong, but that's my guess. 

While I say that, I do think that associations like ASAE need to be looking at what may happen in the future and prepare for it. More of us younger professionals are monitoring blogs more often, using Twitter, and engaging in different ways. We want to be able to easily comment and provide feedback on stories that we read. We also are not necessarily excited about being inundated with vendor-related e-mails and solicitations. ASAE needs to take this into account as they determine the future of how they are providing service.

As Maddie said, I am a big fan of ASAE. I don't want to see it go away, die, be swallowed up by self forming groups, etc. I also am not going to sit here and bad mouth it on this blog. It's something from which I find value, and I hope that you do as well! 

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