March 10, 2009

My Recent Twitter Thoughts...

Has anyone else found that recently they have been trimming the people they are following on Twitter? I have to be honest - I have...

I joined Twitter and have been using it for two main purposes:
  1. to connect with people and organizations to whom I feel a close connection
  2. to try to build connections with people that I feel I WANT to connect with for selfish reasons like professional development and networking
I have found that in many instances, instead of connecting with people through my Twitter presence, I have chosen to follow people, companies and organizations who are ONLY pushing information out about themselves - not building meaningful opportunities for me to connect with them. Notice I said "I have chosen..." I chose to follow them, and now I am choosing not to...

Who I am following has turned more into an RSS feed of the latest news and blog posts that people are doing, as opposed to a place where I can connect with real people who want to build connections with their followers. Some of the people/organizations/companies that I follow only want to promote their cause or product.

My solution - trim the fat. No more news feeds like AP's @Breaking_Newz or CNN's @politicalticker... No more random organizations I followed because I thought I'd be interested in what they had to say... No more celebrities like @The_Real_SHAQ and @lancearmstrong... No more people I followed only because they followed me first... I am done with them.

I posted a while back about Defriending and whether it was generational... I guess in this instance, I am falling into the Gen X category as opposed to the Gen Y category since I am starting to want more value from my connections as opposed to MORE connections.

As I open my desktop Twitter app, Twhirl, tomorrow to take a look at the early morning Tweets, I hope that this trimming will do me some good and get me excited about using this tool to connect with people once again.

A Disclaimer: I don't want you to think that I am berating the aforementioned organizations or news feeds for having presences on Twitter. A lot of people probably like it because they can have a running news feed or can connect with what's going on in the lives of their favorite celebrities. It's just not the way I want to use it any longer...

March 7, 2009

Planning for Emergency

I was reading marketing guru Seth Godin's blog recently, and found this post that I think really illustrates what we in associations need to be doing to ensure that we're looking to the future as opposed to just the crisis at hand. He talks about the fact that oftentimes, we are dealing with the emergency of today that we should have really been preparing for long ago.

My favorite line:

Why not shine a light on the holes we're digging today as opposed to the canyons we'll have to deal with years from now?

I think this ties directly to a session I was watching online recently that was taking place at the ASAE International Conference. It was being led by Jeff De Cagna, and I heard him say the following about an exercise you can do to help in your forward thinking:

What if your association could not collect dues any longer? How would you survive?

I think this is an interesting exercise to just get started in thinking in an innovative way. While this exact situation may never come to fruition, the exercise of thinking about how you would respond to that situation is a good thing.

The moral of the story that both Seth's post and Jeff's comment capture is that we need to be thinking about what we can be doing to prepare for the future NOW. Let's not wait until we're in the position of having to deal with something that you can foresee, when you can be planning for it today.

I know it's difficult to find the time with all of the fires that need to be put out now, but by planning and looking ahead NOW, you will be changing the culture of your organizational thinking and you'll be prepared when the so called emergencies happen.

March 5, 2009

Communicating About/Streaming Events Live

In the past week, I have seen two fellow Association bloggers - Jeff De Cagna over at Principled Innovation, and Ben Martin from the Certified Association Executive blog - utilize a fun little web product called to live stream a session that was occuring in lands far, far away from where I was sitting. (Don't worry boss, I was researching...)

The larger events that included these sessions, one of which was for Realtors and one of which was at the ASAE International Conference, really weren't things I even considered attending in person, but I actually enjoyed watching them on the web. I also think I found an awesome opportunity to enhance the visibility of sessions at our summer Convention for those who are unable to make it by using this cool tool.

So you're probably asking 'why did I watch if I wasn't really in the demographic of attendees?' I think there are a few reasons:

1. WOM - I had seen the WOM engine working with Ben on Twitter and others also talking about the fact that Todd Carpenter from the National Association of Realtors was talking about social media at this Realtor Conference. Had I not heard about it through WOM, I wouldn't likely have tuned in.

2. Curiosity - I decided to listen to see what the NAR was doing social media-wise, since they are one of the biggest national associations in the country. I was curious to hear what they were doing, and how they were talking about social media to their members to get them to understand its role in their business.

3. To Get the user's perspective - The main reason I tuned in was to check out from the users perspective. I often think that people roll these new shiny things out thinking they are going to be amazing, but don't really look at them from the user's perspective. I was able to do that by watching these two sessions, and really liked what I saw.

So, as I continue to think about how we're going to integrate social media and technology at our summer Convention, I am seriously considering this cool new tool that I researched this week.

Perhaps Ben or Jeff can talk about Ustream's ease of use from the conference planner's end. Was it difficult to manage? What equipment is necessary? What if any issues did you run into with using it? I'm sure we'd all love to hear it!

March 2, 2009

ASAE & The Center's Gold Circle Awards

As a member of ASAE's Communication Section Council, I wanted to be sure to get the following information out to my fellow association leaders.

The application deadline is coming up for ASAE & The Center's Gold Circle Awards - March 31, 2009 - so make sure to get your entries in today!

There are 11 categories and the competition is open to associations of all sizes and budgets. In fact, there are two divisions within each category – one for associations with overall budgets below $2 million, and one for those with budgets over $2 million.


  • Gain recognition for your association’s communication excellence
  • Have your entry showcased in ASAE & The Center’s Online Knowledge Center
  • Demonstrate your communications effective practices
  • Receive a stunning crystal GCA trophy
  • Use the 2009 GCA logo in your award-winning communications
  • Compete for a chance to win the **NEW** Council’s Choice Award – one 2009 GCA winner will be selected as the most outstanding for this new award.
Online Entry Form (All entries must be submitted online this year)


Cost: $100 per entry (members) ~ $125 per entry (non-members)

Requirements: Communications submitted to the 2009 GCA Competition must have been created and/or distributed between January 1 – December 31, 2008.

Questions: Send an email to or call (202) 626-2885.