29 July 2011

Friday Top 5

NACHRI/N.A.C.H. hosted our biggest advocacy event of the year earlier this week, Family Advocacy Day. Every summer, patients who have been treated at our member hospitals come to DC to share their stories with federal legislators and point out how important it is to maintain and increase funding for the critical work children's hospitals do. Every year is special, but this year was particularly special.

Top 5 Amazing Things That Happened at #FAD11:
  1. One of our All Star advocates was Max, the star of the hilarious VW little Darth Vader Super Bowl ad.
  2. We had a special guest: Nickelodeon's iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove.
  3. The reauthorization of Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education, one of our most important issues, passed a key House subcommittee during the event.
  4. I got to have dinner at the Monday night carnival with All Stars Franchesca and Noelle and their families and hospital support teams.
  5. In the midst of a fairly stressful time here at NACHRI with work on our merger with CHCA ongoing and details still very much up in the air, I got reminded in a very direct and personal way why we do what we do here.
To find out more about this amazing event, check out the N.A.C.H. Facebook page.

28 July 2011

Interested in Innovation?

If you've been following The Hourglass Blog at all (and if you follow this blog, there's a good chance you follow that one as well), you know that the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives has been on a major innovation, well, crusade seems like the appropriate term, recently. And they're ready to share their journey with the rest of us.

In September, they will be hosting a national summit on association innovation. I'm already committed to a health care association conference that week, otherwise, I'd definitely be there. If you AREN'T joining me at SHSMD, you should go.

27 July 2011

What I'm Reading

This week has been a whirlwind! Monday and Tuesday, our biggest advocacy event of the year went down (Family Advocacy Day), so I've been in a social media tizzy, trying to keep up with all the tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, and traditional media coverage. (Curious? Find out more via hashtag #FAD11 or on the N.A.C.H. Facebook page.) WHEW! But I did have a little time for some other reading this week, too.

26 July 2011

"The Force" Comes to Capitol Hill

Remember little Darth Vader from the great VW Super Bowl commercial last year? He and his family are in DC today as part of the NACHRI/N.A.C.H. Family Advocacy Day, talking to legislators on the Hill about the importance of Medicaid reimbursement, children's hospital graduate medical education (CHGME) funds, and more generally, about funding for health care for kids.

Follow the goings-on on Twitter using #FAD11.

25 July 2011

Always the Last to Know: Scoop.It

If you've talked to Jeff De Cagna recently, you've heard of the idea of moving from creating content to curating content. There's already plenty of information - people need help figuring out what to pay attention to.

Scoop.it provides a new option. And unlike other information curating platforms, it works with the inherent nature of the web, allowing you to curate a variety of formats (text, audio, image, video) in a visual way.

I haven't started using this, but Maddie Grant has, to good effect.

22 July 2011

Friday Top 5

Could it be any hotter out there? (Don't answer that.) With record-breaking heat predicted to last through the weekend, I'm trying to look on the bright side. Top 5 Benefits of a Blazingly Hot Weekend:
  1. We need to keep painting the basement, and there will be NO "it's too nice to stay inside!" distractions.
  2. We have our final Fringe show, but it's at Woolly Mammoth, so, for once, I'm sure there will be working a/c.
  3. The mint is going crazy = mint juleps!
  4. The basil is going crazy = pesto!
  5. Nothing to distract me from a Buffy Season 3 marathon. ("Anybody miss The Mayor? I just want to be a big snake?")

21 July 2011

Super Swap

I had the opportunity to attend the July Super Swap at ASAE yesterday. I attended two sessions: one on volunteerism, one on technology: fad v trend.

The best things I learned/heard include:

  • Different tools have different strengths. Match the tools you offer your volunteers to what it is they're trying to do.
  • Create volunteer job descriptions and publicize them before recruitment, so people know what they're getting into. Then interview applicants before accepting and assigning them.
  • Volunteering is more than just serving on a committee. Other ideas include writing an article for a newsletter or magazine, presenting for a webinar or at a conference, taking over items from staff to do lists that you never get around to (how about calls to members?), providing or promoting content on social media, organizing local networking events, fundraising, acting as a focus or advisory group, mentoring, membership recruitment, advocacy...
Tech: Trend v. Fad
  • Fads are generally negative, but they can lead to new ideas.
  • A trend is a fad that's graduated. 
  • Trends gain momentum, while fads lose it.
  • Particular tools may be a fad (MySpace), but the ideas are trends (connecting with people you know or would like to know online and simply).
  • Until you're answered the "why," there's no point in considering the "how" - it's ALWAYS easier to do nothing.
  • ALWAYS have a call to action in any communication, otherwise, why are you bothering me?
  • Don't expect less from social media in terms of measurable ROI than your other communications channels, but don't expect more either.
Anyone else who was there want to weigh in? What was your favorite observation?

20 July 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Great post from Jeffrey Cufuade: Anyone can...so why not you?
  • We're all Millennials now, at least according to this definition (I agree with Eric - how could the original author get Gen-X so badly wrong?).
  • Deirdre Reid takes on the phones/laptops at conference sessions controversy, just in time for #ASAE11. Personally, I always ask for at least one formal back channel rep during my sessions and I expect people to be on their devices. You?
  • My guest blog post on how the NFL markets to women is FINALLY live on the All Women in Media blog. Now if they could just resolve the lockout, we'd really be cooking.
  • Curious about what the first year as a CEO is like? Check out Veta Richardson's chronicles for the Association of Corporate Counsel.
  • I'm reading The Kid by Sapphire, a follow up novel to Push. It's a hard book to read - Abdul, the main character (and Precious's second child), fairly quickly becomes totally unsympathetic and a bit of a cypher (he's clearly mentally ill, and we get few clues to help us figure out which things are actually happening to him and which are merely disturbing fantasies or dreams). Sapphire does a much better job of voicing the female characters Toosie and My Lai, both of whom present coherent and moving stories. Ultimately, the author had the opportunity to say something powerful about poverty and ignorance, legacies of abuse, and the interplay between the two, as well as about the potential healing power of art, but she chose to sacrifice those to shock value.

19 July 2011

YAP at #ASAE11

Monday, August 8, 9 pm, Jive-n-Wail Dueling Piano Bar, 1227 Washington Avenue (at N 13th Street), St. Louis.

Are you in?

18 July 2011

Always the Last to Know: Google+

OK, I'm not technically the last to know, since (thanks to Maddie Grant), I've been on it for about 2 weeks. But I still can't quite figure out what to DO with it. So I've been looking for advice. Here's what I've found so far:

What about you? Are you on Google+? How are you using it? More importantly, how are you using it differently than other social channels (aka "Facebook")?

15 July 2011

Friday Top 5

I'm in VEGAS this weekend, baby!, having joined my spouse at the end of the big annual Cisco Geekathon for a weekend of fun. Las Vegas is, if you've never been there, a truly unique experience. It's flashy, and crass, and over the top, but it's also pretty fabulous. Top 5 Reasons?
  1. Great shopping. Sure, you can easily drop a mortgage payment or 3, but Vegas has a better combo of luxury brands than Gotham and hey, window shopping is free.
  2. Great restaurants. The $10 buffets are still there, but so are most of the top chefs in the US, at least in outpost form, and I have had some damn fine meals there.
  3. The shows. It's not a trip to Vegas without Cirque de Soleil, but I still haven't managed to realize the dream: Wayne Newton. Just have to keep going until I do.
  4. Spectacle. From the casino decor to the inhumanly tall and gorgeous show girls, everything is bigger and brighter there.
  5. People watching. Talk about a cross-section of America! You literally will see ALL types, and it's ALL entertaining.

14 July 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in my irregular "what I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series:
What are we going to do about the negative effects of freedom?

Shirky, chapter 8, pg. 210
This is the summary quote of the entire "Solving Social Dilemmas" chapter, in which Shirky looks at the ways social tools can help us address things like the Prisoner's Dilemma. Of course, for every bowling league that finds support for their social interactions via a Facebook group or Ning or Meetup, there's a pro-ana or Skinhead group doing the same.

And that's the problem. As Shirky goes on to point out, it used to be hard to form and maintain groups, which meant that societal disapproval was often enough to keep "bad" ones from forming or becoming powerful. Now all kinds of groups form, and we have to filter, sometimes not terribly effectively, after the fact.

How does your association keep track of the peripheral but related groups that may be forming among your members or other potential audiences? Once you find them, how do you choose to interact with them? Do you treat them as potential collaborators - or as competitors? Do you tacitly or even explicitly allow niche groups to form "outside the fold," or do you try to persuade or compel them to come inside? What about groups that are critical of your organization, or groups of the disaffected? What's your philosophical approach? Control? Engage? Deny? Embrace? What consequences would each of those have?

13 July 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Even the Harvard Business Review thinks we should unplug.
  • Want to be lucky? There may be a formula.
  • Blogging mistakes and how to fix them.
  • Are you asking "why"?
  • This is a little off topic for T4P, but I thought this was a fantastic article explaining some of our current political insanity: tribalism versus reason in the debt ceiling debate.
  • This one is also a little off the beaten path for T4P, but: how much federal money does DC actually get? (not as much as you'd think, and probably not enough to fairly compensate the city for hosting the federal government)
  • When "liking" isn't enough.
  • Jamie Notter on more problems with control.
  • Associations give back! Share your story in the comments.
  • Brevity being the soul of wit, tips for writing more concisely.
  • Principles to live by (I particularly like the last one).
  • I'm still working on Gardening at the Dragon's Gate, but I'm also re-reading A Friend of the Earth. I do love me some T.C. Boyle.

12 July 2011

Happy Blogversary, T4P!

A little late...

I missed my own blog's 3rd anniversary, which was Sunday, July 3 (in my defense, that was a holiday weekend).

As usual, it's time for a few stats:

Out of the nearly 250 posts in the past year, the most popular posts have included:
In the past year, T4P has drawn almost 33,000 page views, averaging about 2700 a month.

The biggest source of traffic has been my good friend Hecate, with Networked Blogs close behind.

According to my Blogger stats, I have an audience of about 25,000, with the majority coming from the US, but more than 1000 people each in Russia (Spasiba!), France (Merci!) and Germany (Dankeschoen!), and nearly that many in the UK and the Netherlands.

Thanks for sticking with me, and, as always, Thanks for Playing!

Image credit: World Changing Seattle

11 July 2011

Always the Last to Know: #WelcomeToTwitter

Remember when you first stumbled into Twitter? Remember how one of your major problems was, to extend Jamie Notter's TV metaphor, that you didn't know which shows and channels to watch?

It just got a little easier.

You can now create a list, and, if you include #welcometotwitter in the description, any time anyone starts following you via your profile, she will get an automatic message recommending that she follow the people on your #welcometotwitter list. I can think of a number of applications of this, but the smarties over at SocialFish may have already snagged the best one: connecting your members to each other on Twitter.

Need more detailed instructions?

Follow Recommendations
View more presentations from Twitter

08 July 2011

Friday Top 5

This weekend kicks off the 6th annual Capital Fringe Fest. It features hundreds of performances from July 7 - July 24. Top 5 reasons YOU should go to AT LEAST one show:
  • Fringe promotes new artists - it's unjuried, which means anyone with an idea is welcome to participate.
  • Fringe promotes new thinking - it's also completely uncensored. That means some of the shows are NOT appropriate for all audiences, so artists can push the envelope.
  • Fringe promotes new art forms - it's mostly theater, but there's also dance, music, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, film...
  • Fringe is cheap - the shows are $17 a pop, and there are a variety of ways to reduce that cost further.
  • Prior to Fringe, summer was a DEAD theater season here in DC. Now, even the established theater companies have summer schedules and even often participate in Fringe Fest to one degree or another.
You have 3 weeks, there are literally hundreds of choices, so go see something and support artistic freedom!

07 July 2011

First, Educate the Women

It's a well known fact of international development that the most efficient and effective way to lift a people out of poverty is to educate the women and girls.

Did you know that sanitary supplies are a luxury item for many women around the world? Did you know that in lesser developed countries, girls are often forced to miss several days of school each month because they don't have sanitary supplies?

Huru International is attempting to change this.

Huru is the Swahili word for freedom, and the organization works to help girls living in poverty in Africa to be able to get their educations and become self-sufficient. They also provide HIV/AIDS prevention education.

$25 will purchase a kit of supplies that can enable a girl to stay in school for a full year.

My mother is working with one of her friends who has pledged to raise the funds to purchase 500 kits (yes, that's over $12,000).

Can you spare $25 to keep a girl in school for a year?

Edited July 13 to add: not only did we get there, the Oprah Winfrey Network has expressed interest in the project. Check it out at Well of Dreams.

06 July 2011

What I'm Reading

Short week = short list.

05 July 2011

#ASAE11 - Tips for First Timers

#ASAE11 kicks off in just over a month (damn! already? where is the summer going...?), and I saw a recent tweet asking for tips for first-timers, so I thought I'd share some of mine:
  • Follow the back channel (#ASAE11) - it really will help you keep up on what's going on, both the published stuff and the unpublished/spontaneous stuff.
  • Come to the YAP party - Monday night August 8, 9 pm, Jive-n-Wail. Do NOT miss. Details should show up on the YAP site shortly. Or just come.
  • Don't overschedule yourself - there's a lot going on. You are going to miss some stuff. Make peace with that in advance.
  • Do your prep work - check out the preliminary program before you arrive (on the plane is OK) and set a draft game plan for week
  • Have a second option - you might find yourself in a session that's not that great. Make sure you've already thought about what else you might want to do so you don't feel stuck.
  • Don't be afraid to approach people - it's really hard to come to one of these things for the first time alone. You literally feel like the only person with no friends. But (a) I guarantee there are others in the same situation who would appreciate some outreach and (b) we're association people. We are professional networkers who generally speaking like other people. It's totally cool to walk up to a group you don't know and join their conversation. Nervous? Look for me - that's why my photo's attached to this post.
  • Have a good time, but not TOO good a time - nothing sucks harder than a hangover at a conference. I know from experience, and it's a mistake we all make, but hopefully we only make it once.
  • Feel free to tag along - there are a lot of events you might not have been invited to, just because people don't know you yet. I'm specifically thinking of the vendor events on Sunday night. It is totally OK to tag along with a group you just met that's going to XX or YY vendor's party. They WANT to meet you and they WANT you to have a good time.
What else can you add to help out the nOObs?

Edited July 13 to add: even MORE great tips from Shannon Otto at MemberClicks. I particularly like her "bring snacks" tip, since I at least seem to get hungry at the wrong (non-meal or reception) times.

01 July 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

As we go into this holiday weekend, you may find you have a little downtime for some reading. Might I suggest one or more of these classic (I hesitate to call them "Top 5") documents of the American experiment? All Americans should be familiar with them.

(And by "familiar" I mean: "all of us should have read them and understand what they mean," not "all of us should be ready to spout ridiculous BS that demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the documents, the intent of the writers, the intent of the Founders, and possibly of the English language as a whole in support of our crackpot political beliefs," of course.)
  1. The Declaration of Independence
  2. The US Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights
  3. The Gettysburg Address
  4. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech
  5. Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a woman?" speech
Photo credit: Kristin Hopper