I got this question from a friend a few days ago...
Any suggestions about where to find info about external social networking started by members VS. by staff? I think you set up a facebook page for your members, right? Are you the administrator or members? Seems like if it’s not allowed to be organic that it misses the point vs. if you build it they will come.I have experience on both sides of this and would advise that you not completely cede administrator rights to your SNS to members. It isn't a bad idea to delegate to members some control over the SNSs you set up. After all, when you give members some ownership over the SNS, they'll be more likely to encourage their colleagues to join. But you want to position your association as the administrator. If you're looking at Facebook, I recommend starting a "Facebook Fan Page" instead of a group, and titling it something like "Our Association Name (official)".
UPDATED 10/17/2008: In the comments on this post, Lindy points out:
Messages from Groups go to the Facebook inbox and trigger an e-mail alert to group members' real inbox. [Fan Page] Updates go into a magical mystery Facebook tab that few people ever visit...and no e-mail alert.This is a huge drawback to Fan Pages. [end update]
And I wouldn't recommend that you wait around for members to start an SNS presence for you, or request that they do so. I believe your association will want to be the one who starts it in order to reap the benefits of being the initiator.
Of course, if you've already got SNSs in your industry that were started by others, you definitely should join them, participate, and conduct yourself as if you were a guest in someone else's home.
Tagged: Association Management; Associations; CAE; Certified Association Executive