31 January 2011

Always the Last to Know: Quora

Another recently hot tech this week - Quora. Have questions? Quora, a socially curated Q & A site, has answers. This has been done before (Yahoo! Answers), but Quora definitely has the buzz these days.

Are you using it? What do you think?

28 January 2011

Friday Top 5

Given some of the behavior I've seen on the roads recently, it's time to revisit this one:

My Top 5 Tips for Driving in Snow

(and yes, I do know better than you do - I was raised and learned to drive in Pennsylvania)
  1. You have to clean off your car. Yes, your ENTIRE car. Yes, even you, Mr. SUV Owner. Yes, even the roof. I know it's high, but getting that monstrosity was your choice. Get a step ladder.
  2. SLOW DOWN. I know you're really excited that there's less traffic than usual. Slow down anyway. No, slower. No, SLOOOOOWER.
  3. Normal braking distance? Triple it. Minimum.
  4. For those of you with automatic transmissions (which seems to be pretty much everyone other than me these days): you know that mysterious "low" gear your car has? This is what it's for - use it.
  5. If it's icy, just stay home. You cannot drive in ice. No, not even you, Mr. SUV Owner.

27 January 2011

Stop Asking for Information You Already Have

There's this marketing company out there that provides tons of great free and paid content.They send me notices about new, really interesting-sounding white papers and studies they're releasing (or promoting for others) for FREE at least several times a month. Hot topics, actual research, well-designed materials. And did I mention FREE?

Yet I almost never download them.


Because almost every time I click the link to download the latest awesome-sounding white paper they ask for ALL my contact information. All REQUIRED fields. Again. And again. And again.

I know for a fact they already have all my contact information.

Since I'm not a paid subscriber, there is no option to have an account.

But couldn't they set a cookie on my machine or use name and email matching to determine that they already "know" me? And if there is no match on name and email, ask me for complete contact information at that point?

How does this apply to associations?

Most of us have - I think, I hope - gotten to the point where we don't repeatedly ask our members for the same demographic information over and over. We might ask them to confirm/update their information on a set cycle, but we don't ask them to start from scratch and provide full name, company, title, address, email, phone, fax, URL, mobile, certifications, degrees, FB and Twitter handles EVERY time they come to us for anything.

But what about "frequent flyers" who AREN'T your members? Check your abandon rates in your web stats program, and beware of putting unnecessary hurdles in people's way. They will walk - and get annoyed at your organization in the process. Trust me on this one.

26 January 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Some good advice (via my CEO) for being more efficient with technology in 2011.
  • Great tips from the Harvard Business Review blog for managing millennials.
  • Are you wasting your biggest social media asset by prohibiting staff from interacting on socmed platforms?
  • "But what if someone says something bad about us?" Advice from the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Brigida.
  • Hone your content like Jerry Seinfeld hones jokes - no, really!
  • How do you know your marketing efforts are working?
  • Jamie Notter for the SocialFish on clarity, control and boundaries.
  • I'm finally reading Seth Godin's Tribes. I know it's total heresy to say this, but it's not doing much for me. It feels slapped together, like a greatest hits collection from his blog. I think it would benefit from SERIOUS editing down to a short essay. Then again, that won't sell any books.
  • I'm also reading The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Awesome Gothic creepiness!

25 January 2011

In the Navy (Yes, You Can Put Your Mind At Ease)

Why? Because the US Navy Command has an official Social Media Handbook, it's available on Slideshare.

24 January 2011

Always the Last to Know: RockMelt

In the ongoing quest to find the perfect tool that will merge all your social media platforms into one management interface, there's been a lot of chatter about RockMelt recently. It uses a browser model to put everything together, and it's still in beta, so you need an invitation to try it out (and I'll admit, I haven't gotten one, so everything I'm reporting is third hand). But the WOM is pretty good.

Or you can check out the video:

So - anybody using it? What do you think? Should I get myself an invite?

21 January 2011

Friday Top 5

I'm listening to some Prince this afternoon and thinking that it's sad that I missed Prince v. Prince at the Black Cat last Sunday, but I was being responsible and getting to bed early so I could get up in time to go to Monday's service project. I'm also having a hard time coming up with a Friday Top 5 topic.

Hence: my Top 5 favorite Prince tunes:
  1. Sexy M.F.
  2. Musicology
  3. Thieves in the Temple
  4. When Doves Cry
  5. Kiss

20 January 2011

Be Human

There's a great story that's been making the rounds of the Interwebs about a Southwest pilot who held a plane so that a grandfather could make it to the bedside of his dying grandchild.(Get the full scoop here.)

The big thing that jumps out at me in this tale (other than continuing proof of Southwest's awesomeness) is the contrast between the way the TSA agents behaved - mindlessly following the rules - and the way the Southwest personnel behaved - using their judgment to do the right thing.

The thing is, the TSA agents aren't allowed to use their judgment - they HAVE to blindly adhere to the regulations, no matter what. They aren't empowered. The Southwest employees, on the other hand, are. Now I'll bet that if TSA chief John Pistole had been there in that terminal at LAX, he would've given the security agents the OK to give Mr. Dickinson priority. But he wasn't, so they couldn't.

I hope the applicability of this situation to associations is clear, but just in case, let me spell it out for you: your senior staff can always make exceptions based on member needs and doing what's right, but that's totally unhelpful, since they are rarely the ones dealing with the immediate need in the moment. If your line staff members aren't empowered to make decisions and do what they need to do in the moment to make things right for a member without worrying about being punished afterward for not following the rules, any statements your organization makes about being member-focused or providing excellent member service are so much bullshit.

19 January 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Are you a freeloader? And is that necessarily bad?
  • Some simple truths smart people tend to forget. Personally, I like "the problems we have with others are typically more about us" the best.
  • Eric Lanke and Jeff De Cagna are launching a public conversation about associations and innovation - jump in!
  • Splash blog asks: what do you love to do?
  • Jamie Notter asks: what is your core purpose?
  • What do the words you use most frequently in blogging say about you?  (Yes, this one's silly.)
  • Want really effective email campaigns? Use email to engage, not broadcast.
  • Great review of the top socmed monitoring tools for nonprofits.
  • I'm also reading Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, a terrific collection of short stories by Danielle Evans, and looking forward to the arrival of Ego and Archetype by Edward Edinger. Yes, I ordered an actual physical book - I'm going to be working through/studying it with a friend, and I anticipate wanting to take notes in the margins.

18 January 2011

Attention all CAEs!

Trying to find a better method of tracking your CAE renewal credits than: "I'll call the member services department and hope they're keeping better records than I am?"

ASAE has reached an agreement with Recert Track that allows CAEs to use the service to support our renewals - AND they offer a discount subscription to CAEs using the code ASAE2011.

17 January 2011

Happy MLK Day!

It's the Martin Luther King holiday, and many of us have off work today.

What to do with all that extra time?

You could sleep off your joy/despair induced hangover, depending on how your team did in the Divisional round of the playoffs this weekend.

You could stay out late and party.

You could shop - it's a holiday weekend; there are ALWAYS sales.

You could have a daytime TV watching marathon, although for the sake of your mental and physical health, I don't recommend it.

Or you could get out in your community and participate in the MLK Day of Service, part of President Obama's United We Serve initiative. Find a project in your area, spend a few hours doing something to help people in your community, and THEN go get a well-earned cocktail.

14 January 2011

Friday Top 5

Well, my Eagles are out of the playoffs. I'll still watch the games obsessively and post picks and weekly recaps to my football blog, of course, but my stress level and, consequently, my alcohol consumption are going to be much more reasonable from here on out.

Since it's over for us for this year, though, I thought it would be a good time to post my Top 5 Moments from the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles season:
  1. The 1 play opening drive from the Eagles at Redskins Monday Night Football matchup November 15 that went 88 yards for a TD. And I was there!
  2. David Akers' perfectly executed onside kick in the 4th quarter of the December 19 game at the new Meadowlands that set up the TD that cut the Giants' lead to 7. And I was there, too!
  3. DeSean Jackson's amazing punt return run at that same game that won the game for the Eagles as time ran out.
  4. The emergence of LeSean McCoy as Brian Westbrook v. 2.0. Case in point? Running out the clock (literally) in Dallas to seal the 3 point win on December 5.
  5. The fact that the team I predicted to go 6-10 even made the playoffs. And with, like, the 3rd youngest roster in the NFL, the Birds' future looks bright. Fly, Eagles Fly!

13 January 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in the irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
The internet is the first big communications network to make group communication a native part of its repertoire...[and] the internet does not know what it's being used for."

Shirky, chapter 6, p. 157
Prior to the advent of the Internet, communications methods - at least those available to the average person - were primarily one-to-one and designed with one specific purpose in mind (i..e., letters, telegraph, telegram, telephone, etc.).

One-to-many methods required significant time (sending holiday cards) or significant money (owning a newspaper company) or both. And many-to-many methods were pretty much non-existent.

Because the Internet allows (at least in theory) any one or group to connect with any other one or group at any time and using any form of technology or communication it supports, it has removed most of the significant barriers to experimentation, innovation, and group organizing.

That allows some pretty powerful stuff to take place (for instance, all the technologies I've profiled on Mondays for the past 2 1/2 years), but it's also causing some pretty powerful shifts in our world (for instance, removing co-location as a necessary precursor to relationship).

Understanding the social and interpersonal shifts that are taking place is critical for those of us in the "YAY, technology! YAY, Internet!" camp to be able to connect with those who are more suspicious. Why is that important? When's the last time your boss, board or CEO wasn't interested in the great new idea you were sure was going to be the "killer app" for your association? 10 minutes ago? Until we can listen and understand where the people who aren't rushing into this new world with open arms are coming from, we'll continue waste time pointing fingers and arguing over who's right rather than coming together to focus our attention and energy on creating a better world for our members, professions, and industries.

12 January 2011

What I'm Reading

  • As you know, the BIG debate going on in the past few weeks has been around Joe Flowers's post about why he's not planning to renew his ASAE membership (to which I linked in a previous What I'm Reading post). This week, Acronym responded, Jamie Notter posted something typically and incredibly thoughtful on love, Shelley Alcorn reminded us that pretending to be indispensable does a disservice to our organizations AND our members, and KiKi L'Italien focused on this topic during the weekly #Sweetspot vodcast. WHEW! I haven't posted a direct response, since I don't think I necessarily have anything new to add to the debate, but I will say this: every association needs to start thinking about what we can create that's compelling enough to make people want to support us financially in an era when what they can get for free might not be as good as what we offer, but might very well be good enough.
  • Radical transparency: it's not as simple as it looks.
  • Can you be your own meeting fairie?
  • 4 lessons from socmed in 2010 from NTEN's awesome Holly Ross.
  • Want to write better?  Follow these 5 commandments.
  • Reflections on the evolution of logos and brands, using Starbucks as an example (the really good stuff is in the comments).
  • "Why I stopped reading your blog."
  • Does your association accept credit cards for payment? You might want to check out this great summary of trends in PCI compliance from Cisco.
  • Slogged through the piece of chick-lit crap (and the person who recommended it? you know who you are, and you'd be off the Xmas card list, if I actually sent Xmas cards), and I've moved on to Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle, one of my favorite fiction authors. So far? LOVE! As usual.

11 January 2011

100 Trends for 2011

Fascinating SlideShare presentation on 2011 trends to watch - lots of interesting tech and non tech stuff to check out.

(Splash blog posted this yesterday, but I already had it scheduled here and figured some of you might not have seen it there. Since both of us think it's awesome, you really should check it out.)

10 January 2011

Always the Last to Know: Yammer

You know how social media allows to richer conversations and sharing than email? But you don't always want to conduct all your internal business in public, or have confidential information living on LinkedIn or facebook, even if it is in a private group. Enter Yammer, a business-oriented social network designed to be used in-house by organizations. It supports creating a true internal Community of Practice and integrates with everything from MS SharePoint to your email to Google to the public socnets.

In other words, it looks really cool. Anyone in the association space using it? I could see it being vital to an organization with large numbers of remote staff.

07 January 2011

Friday Top 5

What with the holidays and all, it took me a while to get back to this, but I didn't want to skip my Friday Top 5 recaps of #Tech10, even if they are a little late.
  1. The MemberClicks Splash blog not only put together their own blog roundup, they recapped tips for selecting an AMS and a session on doing marketing response analysis.
  2. Lynn Morton lived blogged two sessions: one on driving growth and one on mobile.
  3. Acronym also did a great blog roundup, and the team recapped MANY of the sessions, including some fun photo recaps.
  4. Maggie McGary advises associations not to make rash moves in response to getting excited/inspired/scared by what they learned.
  5. And finally, Thad Lurie was inspired to write haiku. HEE!
What did you learn? How will you use that in the 2011?

06 January 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
What we are witnessing today is a difference in the degree of sharing so large is becomes a difference in kind.

Shirky, chapter 6, pg. 149
In other words, we're actually doing something new here. From the beginning of the Interwebs, it was always possible to have a personal site (aka "a blog"). But now, if you can use a computer and know the basics of how to use any type of word-processing program, you're good to go - no actual programming required. And that's allowing us to think about the interaction and the information rather than the technology. Which is allowing an unprecedented ability for groups to organize themselves and create knowledge.

So, associations, historical conveners of groups and creators and disseminaters of knowledge, how are we going to respond?

05 January 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Not happy with your current Twitter client? Check out some of the other options.
  • We all know that email's still the best way to reach people, but you can increase your impact by making your email social.
  • Get inspired by 2010's best mobile ads.
  • Facebook tops Google in 2010. In other news, we should probably all go into hiding to protect ourselves from the coming throw-down.
  • Reading a dumb chick-lit book on the Kindle because I needed something a little lighter after Dorian Gray (which, in retrospect, may not have been the best choice ever during the holidays). But honestly, the particular specimen of this genre I'm reading is so dumb I'm not going to name it out of both shame (that I paid $10 for this piece of trash) and refusal to give it any more publicity. Will I even finish it? Unknown at this point, but the story is about the author, and she could not be a less appealing person, trust. She makes me want to fly to Chicago to smack her and rescue her poor significant other.

04 January 2011

TED Talks: Where do good ideas come from?

The beginning of a new year seems like an excellent time to ask ourselves this:

Make sure you listen the whole way to get the story about Sputnik, GPS, and soy lattes.

What can you do in 2011 to move from "lone creative" to "coffee house"?

(Shout out to Jeffrey Cufaude and #assnchat for the link.)

03 January 2011

Always the Last to Know: World of Tweets

Frog Design has used cloud computing, geolocation, and the capabilities of HTML 5 to create an amazing visual representation of what's happening in Twitter around the world, World of Tweets. And do make sure you follow the link, because you need to see it. And you can see it on your iPhone, because that bad boy don't need no Flash.