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November 29, 2007

McKinley's Blog Watchdog: Social Media Edition

November is Social Media month at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, with Associations Now magazine and the Acronym blog calling attention to the phenomenon. For full surround sound effect, this edition of the Blog Watchdog will call attention to social media, too.

In "Fight the Fear of Criticism", Lisa Junker addresses one of the primary trepidations association professionals have about using social media: opening themselves up to public ridicule. She asks, "What if we put up a blog, for example, and members post comments that are negative--or even nasty--about the association?" In the comment thread, Caron Mason answers Lisa's question with a question of her own, "It's also important to remember that people will say bad things about you if you give them an forum or not. The question is, do you want to know what they are saying or not?" I hope you answered yes.

We're going a little off the association path for this blog citation. Using social media tools like
Twitter and Utterz (an amazing new entrant to the social media space), Daniel Rothamel, a Virginia REALTOR broadcast minute by minute updates of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) conference and expo in Las Vegas. A real estate blog, AgentGenius brings to light Daniel's efforts in "Our Spotlight - True Genius on the Street - Daniel Rothamel." From microblogging sessions, to working with NAR staff to organize a BloggerCon, to recording video and audio reviews of sessions, Daniel did it all using social media. Would you encourage this kind of citizen journalism at your convention? Why or why not?

There's an association for everything, right? So it's only natural that we should have an association for social media, and soon enough, there will be one. Currently, the Social Networking and Media Association (SNAMA) is organizing as a group on facebook, the darling of social networking sites adding over one million users per week. A facebook account is required to participate in the association, but a website will soon be launched. The SNAMA group currently has 40 members.

Is this social media stuff giving you a headache yet? Want to see some actual association implementations of social media? Then you must pay a visit to the Association Social Media wiki. This comprehensive list of association uses of social media has grown into a not-to-be-missed resource for anyone considering a blog, podcast, wiki or other social media project.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from The Cluetrain Manifesto, published in 1999. It says, "Ironically, public relations has a huge PR problem. People use it as a synonym for BS." In a post titled "
PR is Useless" Ben McConnell at the Church of the Customer blog echoes this sentiment, writing, "...real word of mouth, real PR, is generated at the root levels. The root levels are the clerks, the sales people, the support staff, the receptionist, the call center people, the on-site technicians and consultants... The best PR comes from the smallest of actions by the root-level people." Are you giving your root-level people the resources and authority they need to give remarkable member service?

To continue the discussion on any of these topics, visit my blog and post your comments.

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