Am I a bad community member if I don’t participate?


So every week there is #assnchat (that’s a special code on Twitter that means Association Chat in case you were curious) and every week I debate participating. I have once or twice before, but the hurdle for me is that they use Twitter to do it.

I love my community of association professionals I interact with, BUT they are noisy enough without adding a chat to the mix. I know everyone has their own preference of how they interact & digest content, I just wonder if I’m a bad community member by not participating?

Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on it, but other times when I do peek at what’s going on I don’t. It almost seems like too many people participate and the 140 characters is a little too limiting for a chat functionality. I like the idea of it, but the tool doesn’t work for me.

Same goes for the ASAE Collaborate site (at least that’s what I think it’s called). Honestly, I don’t visit ever really. The only times I visit are when I receive a personal message or a connection request. Other than that I don’t visit b/c I really have no need to and I don’t know what the direct value is to me. I prefer to connect with my fellow members on the channels I already use. There are enough sites I have to read, enough profiles I have to update w/o having another.

Yet with that said, am I obligated to participate? My initial reaction is no, but at the same time I question whether or not this makes me a “bad” community member. Not that I do anything wrong, just that I’m not giving enough. Thoughts?


3 Responses to “Am I a bad community member if I don’t participate?”

  1. I completely agree with you, Lynn. I’ve started just lurking on #assnchat because I don’t want to create too much noise for my other followers who don’t participate. I’ve written before about how I’m not sure Twitter is a viable platform a chat, as well. I think there are many other platforms that are better for chatting; Twitter just isn’t my personal favorite.

  2. I totally hear you and agree with you about, as a non-association person once chimed in and called it, “ass n’ chat”. Sorry–still lmao about that.

    I hate Twitter chats. I do see the draw of them–they let others know the conversation is going on and it’s good WOM and a good reminder in case you’ve forgotten about it being scheduled (I always do). BUT that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. There have been too many times when Twitter has been down during it, or slow, and even when it’s working fine, “real time” seems to be a subjective concept for tweetchat and even twitter’s own search function.

    Funny you say that about ASAE’s community because I find myself thinking the same thing–like I should be checking it out but I never really do. It just seems like in that case, it’s a matter of them needing to rein everyone in to that one plantform if they want it to succeed. E.g. stop the listservs, stop the discussion feature on the Linkedin group and herd everyone back there to that platform.

    I have to say, I am sort of a white-label platform convert. I remember when I used to hear Andy speak about it so passionately and thought “whatever.” But I’m starting to see the value more, both for members and for associations. I think the concept of e-groups is brilliant–I hate listservs but I need email reminders to draw me back to a community. Instead of the conversation taking place via individual emails, let the conversation take place on the community THEN spit out the digests to participants. I can’t imagine there’s not some way to rig Sharepoint to do some kind of e-group thing.

    But I digress. I don’t think you’re a bad community member for not participating; not at all. The thing is, you are participating in the community–just not on those platforms, and there are reasons why.

  3. Shannon – I know when the SocialFish used to do water cooler hours for NTEN those were always great chats, though Meebo can be spotty service sometimes & you get spammers occasionally.

    Maggie – I see the value for the association, I don’t know if I see the complete value for members. I think had associations started white-label platforms 3+ years ago, they would have completely been ahead of the curve, but now our members have generally found what they need on external sites and more are joining every day. I think it’s important to be there to greet them.

    For example, I have a group on Twitter that I converse with a lot and they’re active & fun, so I think I’m going to try & encourage everyone to try foursquare while we’re in Atlanta next year for conference. It’s a good way for them to explore the city & find out the great places to go. Since some of them live in NYC (actually a lot, it’s kinda interesting) they are starting to test it out on their own. If we can show them the fun/cool/valuable new tool, then we’re going to be able to increase their engagement and benefit them personally.

    I think if an association does go white-label, they need to think of it more of a dashboard for their members, where feeds are pulled in. Allow members to reuse the content they already have or find automatically. It allows the lurkers to have a dashboard & the finders/talkers to get more exposure with less effort. An association should be more of an aggregator (sp?) than anything else.

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