31 March 2011

Sharing the Love

I know, I know - all the cool bloggers are on WordPress.

Well, I'm still here on Blogger and I'm pretty happy with that.

Want to know why?

30 March 2011

What I'm Reading

29 March 2011

It's not a meme, but...

What are your professional learning habits?

Jeffrey Cufaude poses this question and answers it well.

He also asked other people to weigh in, so...


Read voraciously

And not just business books which, for the most part, at least in my experience, are just going to make you dumber. Don't just read "fast food" fiction either (and if you've been checking my "What I'm Reading" posts, you know I've been guilty of this of late). Read non-fiction. Read literary fiction. Read great magazines like MIT's Technology Review, the New Yorker, and GQ (where the feature writing is OUTSTANDING). Read classics. Read stuff that's been translated from some other language. Read the paper. Read smart bloggers, and not just those who blog about association management. Re-read the books that changed your life in college or grad school. Read.

TED Talks

I definitely second Jeffrey's TED Talks recommendation. Smart people talking about interesting stuff in 20 minutes or less. Again, don't just view what you know - seek out stuff that's completely unfamiliar.


When you get invited to speak, attend the full conference if at all possible, even if it's not specifically in your field. There are limits to this. I had the opportunity to attend the AAP conference when I first started at NACHRI, and I attended the general sessions, but the breakouts were way the hell over my head. But I went to the general sessions, and heard some great talks. And when you're there, use the opportunity to talk to people (aka "the other attendees") you otherwise wouldn't have the chance to meet, particularly if they
seem different from you in some major way (age, gender, where they live, race/ethnicity, profession, seniority, etc.). Actually, that's good advice for life in general.


This is a topic I revisit here at T4P periodically, but I cannot overstress the importance of occasionally going off the grid for awhile. Our brains, our psyches, and our hearts need time away from the electronic hamster wheel. Different people need different amounts of time away and at different intervals of frequency, but we all need some time out to process, think, recharge, and refresh. (And yes, I think Seth Godin's "if you really loved what you were doing, you'd never need time off" position is complete and utter bullshit.)

What are your professional learning habits?

28 March 2011

Always the Last to Know: CloudSight

Federated search comes to the cloud, thanks to CloudSight.

25 March 2011

Friday Top 5

One of my colleagues recently had to have emergency surgery. She's doing OK, but we've been trying to step in and help with food and errands. It got me thinking about cooking as a way of showing you care. Hence, the Top 5 Things I Cook to Demonstrate Affection:
  1. Baked chicken
  2. Chicken noodle soup from the remnants of said baked chicken
  3. Apple pie
  4. Honey whole wheat bread
  5. Hot chocolate
What do they have in common? They're all things you can easily buy at the grocery store: a rotisserie chicken, Campbell's, hit the store bakery, Swiss Miss. But trust me, they aren't going to taste the same. Part of it is better ingredients (Swiss Miss doesn't use real milk, 70% Ghirardelli chocolate, whole milk, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne, honey, brown sugar, and dark rum), part of it is better technique (don't even get me started on pie crust), but I honestly believe that "made with love" makes a difference.

What non-verbal ways do you show you care?

24 March 2011

User Innovation v. Producer Innovation

A recent piece in MIT's Technology Review by Eric Von Hippel (excerpt freely available, subscription required to read the entire piece) on the topic of the sources of innovation got me thinking about innovation and associations.

The innovation faith is being widely preached in the association world these days, and many of us have converted. But that brings with it a certain amount of pressure, namely, to come up with great new ideas (since that's really what's at the root of innovation).

But there's hope: YOU don't have to come up with all the great new ideas in order for your association to be innovative. You just have to be open to new ideas, recognize them, and be ready to pursue them, no matter what the source.

How does that play out for associations? Technically, we're all in existence because of our members (remember them?), to serve them and their professional or industry needs.

Does your association allow room for innovation, aka great new ideas, from the people who actually use what you produce - you know, your members and other audiences?

What mechanisms do you have in place to solicit their ideas on a regular basis? No, not just the board - the "regular" rank and file members. We all tend to be guilty of the fallacy of composition when it comes to our boards, including the board members themselves, but in reality they tend to speak mostly for their own needs and not be some sort of objective, impartial voice of the membership as a whole.

Once ideas bubble up from the membership, what happens next? Do you do anything with them? Do you even reserve the capacity (time, money, staff, other resources) to do anything with them?

Regardless of the outcome (because not all new ideas are necessarily good), how do you let people know what happened and why?

The thing is, your members are a lot closer to what you're doing and producing, ostensibly for their benefit. Why not ask them what they think about how you can make your offerings better for them, and then try to do something beneficial with what they tell you?

23 March 2011

What I'm Reading

Long list this week, as I've been gathering these for two weeks, and (apparently) a lot has been happening.

  • "Our best staff person is leaving! Oh no!" Fortune has some advice to help you figure out what to do next.
  • What good is a smartphone if you don't have access to clean water?
  • Do social media for a healthcare organization? You need to check out this wiki.
  • How does Google know where to rank pages?(Yes, this includes actual mathematical formulas, many of which I don't understand, but the article is cool anyway.)
  • I'm enjoying Shelly Alcorn's "Words Make Worlds" (or, as I tend to think of it, "Words have power.") series.
  • Erin Fuller wrote a great article for the March issue of Associations Now on switching to a freemium dues model.
  • Follow on to the Red Cross mis-tweet: donate a pint.
  • And what NOT to do with a mis-tweet.
  • Would you know how to tweet an emergency?
  • Jamie Notter asks: which is more important - being "right" or accomplishing real change?
  • Why should anyone "like" you? John Haydon provides some tips for attracting FB fans.
  • Don't get too attached to your Twitter client - it may be in danger of extinction.
  • MGI's annual Membership Marketing Benchmark report is out!
  • Big Ideas from SxSW (for those of us who couldn't go).
  • It's not quite as comprehensive, but check out Maddie Grant's cool Storify from Great Ideas (also for those of us who couldn't go).
  • I've been enjoying (guilty pleasure alert) the Hunger Games triology. Yes, I'm aware that there are "young adult" novels, but they're surprisingly well-written and fast-paced, and they're dystopian science fiction, which is one of my favorite genres. I also recently finished Let Me In, a Swedish horror novel whose protagonist is a lonely, bullied adolescent who becomes friends with an adolescent vampire. Don't worry - I'm not just reading fluff. I've just started Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber. It tackles questions of identity and alienation against the backdrop of a suspense-filled plot.

22 March 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Twitter!

PS - way to share the love and turn the focus to your users rather than yourself!

21 March 2011

Always the Last to Know: Philanthroper

Philanthropher is a new online service that's like Groupon, only you give rather than getting. Every day, they feature a new or emerging charity with a unique story or methods, and you have the opportunity to donate $1. Because "a little helps a lot."

14 March 2011

Gone Conferencin'

No posts this week - I'm at the 2011 NACHRI Creating Connections Conference in lovely Baltimore, MD.

Curious about the conference?

Check out the website
Check out the blog
Follow #CC2011 on Twitter

11 March 2011

Friday Top 5

I'm heading to Baltimore tomorrow for the 2011 NACHRI Creating Connections Conference.

Top 5 Great Things About Baltimore (none of which I'll get to enjoy next week, as I'll be too busy with the conference):
  1. John Waters
  2. Hon Fest
  3. The annual Night of 1000 Elvises (which, by the way, benefits one of NACHRI's member hospitals) 
  4. The amazing National Aquarium (I LOVE aquariums)
  5. The Charm City Rollergirls
An alert reader pointed out that it's actually the night of 100 Elvises. What can I say? Wishful thinking on my part, because, of course, the more Elvii, the better.
Image credit: Photo of HonFest 2007 from Imagined Life.

10 March 2011

Feeding the City

Delcor is launching their 9th annual food drive in support of the Capital Area Food Bank.

CAFB has been serving DC for over 30 years. Every year, they distribute 23 MILLION pounds of food, which feeds over 380,000 people. 

Last year, Delcor coordinated 34 organizations to donate 27,000 of those 23 million pounds of food.

Learn how to help them top that this year at the Delcor blog.

09 March 2011

What I'm Reading

  • The (awesome) Young Association Executive take over of Acronym.
  • Worried about social media missteps? Sometimes, they turn into literal gold.
  • Why the Internet (and the people on it) sucks.
  • Why does most FB marketing #FAIL?
  • Injectable computers? Not sci-fi. (let's hope they're not running Windows)
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) takes "doesn't get it" to a whole new level.
  • Damn! Where was this guy when I started grad school? If you're even thinking about thinking about getting an academic degree, read this first.
  • How to drive your conference speakers nuts in 10 easy lessons.
  • I finally finished Snow, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. I did finish it, though. I'm now nearly finished with Perfume, a novel by Patrick Suskind. It's not bad, and it's a quick read.

08 March 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Even though we're not in the Big Easy, you can still celebrate!

Make a King Cake
Listen to WWOZ
Dance to Zydeco music
Eat some red beans and rice
Drink a sazerac

But MOST IMPORTANT, "DoWhatcha Wanna!"

Photo credit: me! Taken of a Mardi Gras Indian at Jazz Fest 2010

07 March 2011

Always the Last to Know: Xtranormal

Wanna direct without having to deal with all those annoying actors?  Xtranormal can hook you up, as long as you know how to type (which, if you're reading this, you probably do).

04 March 2011

Friday Top 5

After a very cold (but thankfully not particularly snowy) winter here in DC, spring is finally on the way!

My Top 5 Favorite Things about March (or at least THIS March):
  1. We return to daylight savings time, which means I get to enjoy long, lovely hours of daylight after I get home from work.
  2. My daffodils bloom. I love daffodils. They're beautiful flowers and in many spaces provide the first real color you see after winter.
  3. Mardi Gras! It's really late this year, but even though I don't get to take the day off, I party anyway.
  4. It's my birthday! And this year is a milestone birthday.
  5. Landless Theater is putting on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. SQUEE! If you like fringe theater, Joss Whedon, or musicals, you should definitely get tickets.

03 March 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in my ongoing but irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody."
social tools don't create collective action - they merely remove obstacles to it.

Shirky, chapter 6, pg. 159
I think this is particularly relevant right now, given what's happening in Egypt and indeed many of the countries in the Middle East.

Some people have called the overthrow of the Mubarak dictatorship the "Facebook (or Twitter) Revolution." But that's inaccurate. Facebook didn't cause the revolution. Most experts attribute it to a number of things, including a youth movement to protest the state of the economy (and particularly unemployment) and, of course, people protesting a repressive regime. But Facebook and Twitter did help facilitate coordination of collective action. That's the power of these tools. But they are just tools. Only we can determine what they are used for.

02 March 2011

What I'm Reading

01 March 2011

I Got Nothin'

I got nothin' today (approaching-conference-insanity combined with damn-being-injured-saps-your-creative-energy), so go check out the Oscar fashion coverage on one of my favorite websites, Go Fug Yourself.

(Hey, everyone needs a little fluff now and then!)