First, I win an official Red Sox baseball for tying for first place in ASAE and The Center's Big Boston Quiz (designed to teach this year's annual meetings attendees a little about the host city while having some fun), then I got to meet some of my all-time favorite association bloggers at the informal bloggercon get-together. All in one day—be still my heart. About 15 or so of us gathered on Sunday to shoot the breeze about what we in the Association Blogoclump have noticed going on when it comes to associations and social networking technology like blogs, wikis, and way, way beyond. Here's some of what we talked about (for Ben's audio wrapup, click here. Doesn't he have a nice voice?).
First off, Jeff De Cagna mentioned that he has set up a wiki (a Web site where anyone can go in and edit the page) to collect examples of associations that are using social media in interesting ways. I can't find a link to it on his blog or Web site for some reason, but I'll post a link as soon as I can find one. This could be an incredible resource.
One example someone mentioned that I thought was extremely cool was a medical society that's interacting with members in some way on the virtual reality site Second Life, which I had been avoiding because I barely have time to do everything I want to do in my real reality. But I've heard so much about it, and now as something people are using for meetings—and now associations in general—that I have to check it out.
Another idea was to use Google Maps or QuickMaps (I hope that's the right link; I'm not familiar with QuickMaps) to map out an association's member database. You could use the data to figure out the best location to hold a meeting, for example. I think this would be especially useful for chapters, and I plan to suggest it to the other board members of ASBPE New England, an association chapter I belong to. There also was some talk about usng GPS technology to let people know exactly where someone they want to find is at any point in time, but that's a little too Big Brotherish for me.
A better idea, IMHO, was to have associations make connections between members that they might not think of. Say, let people know who in their college class might be attending the meeting, or whatever it may be that they have in common that you already have in your membership database.
Are any associations using LinkedIn as their association's network? That was another suggestion that I thought was pretty interesting. After hearing how successfully some people are using their LinkedIn profiles, I'm inspired to get more active with mine. If anyone reading this wants to join my network, here's my profile. Send me an invitation at spelletier at charter dot net, or let me know you're interested. Thanks!