Oh ASAE, not again…


So I know I’ve been very critical of ASAE in the past, whether it be Tech ’09 brand jacking scandal (exaggeration!) or the Power of A campaign. But I guess someone has to be.

This time I’m taking slight issue with their Social Media Workshop that was held on November 5 & 6. Please note: I did not attend this event, though checked in on the Twitter stream quite a bit over the two days. My experience with this is a good example of how your event is seen by the non-attendees over Twitter.

Most of the issues I have are little things, so as opposed to writing long paragraphs, I’m just going to get them out there:

– The order of programming was a little weird. Why in the hell would you do an intro & then jump into a 75 minute session on Twitter? Listening is the first step with social media, b/c without it, you don’t know where to start.

– Then you jump into mobile technologies? Though mobile technologies are probably the next big frontier in the association world, exposing a bunch of people at a 101 day to this half way through the first day could very easily overload them.

– Speaking of overload… There were a TON of tweets about how people felt that this was just so much information. There truly is a lot of information out there about social media, but it needs to be presented in a building block format, otherwise they will feel overloaded. The sessions need to be integrated with each other so that skills that are learned in the previous session can be applied to the next.

POST was not in use. The POST Method is a fairly popular way of thinking about & planning your social media strategies. P – People, O – Objectives, S – Strategies, T – Technologies. SMW didn’t follow this, they did an intro & jumped right into the tools. Yes knowing the tools is important in the end, but you have to think about your members first.

– There seemed to be more consultants speaking than I would have expected. There is a small but growing group of community managers that do social media for associations, I would have liked to see them paired with other association individuals who do social media as a part of their job. These two perspectives are extremely important when talking about associations actually DOING social media. I think consultants are an invaluable resource to give objective opinions about strategies and tactics, but they aren’t usually the ones tweeting out or Facebooking on behalf of an association. (Maybe I’m wrong in this in some cases, I’ll acknowledge that)

– Where were the community managers? Out of 15 speakers, only one was a full blown community manager for an association. You do have the SocialFish that run YAP, I believe KiKi ran a community as a part of her position at OSA, but it’s a voice I wish was a bit more present.

I do have to give ASAE props for recognizing the need for something like this. I would love to see in the future them do something similar to their membership & marketing bootcamps that they have. Think it’s a good way to maximize the learning while recognizing the restraints of association professional development budgets right now. Looking forward to seeing what ASAE does next.



5 Responses to “Oh ASAE, not again…”

  1. I agree there is a huge focus on wowing associations with technology and the latest greatest in social media. In the trenches we’re still trying to figure out top-down control issues, staffing realities, and effective social media strategies. I would also love to see something specifically designed to support/advise real world people who are the champions for social media in their associations. We know how to use Twitter and FB. We need help knowing how to pace ourselves and knowing what and how to communicate with members, staff, and the board.

  2. I am Megan Denhardt with ASAE & The Center and I was the program manager for the Social Media Workshop. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts about the program. It is good to hear the perspective of someone watching the Twitter posts. We will add your feedback to what we have already received about the Workshop as we look to always improve our future educational offerings. Thanks again.

  3. SSB – One of the problems is that we are trying to figure out control. Control shouldn’t be something you try to do with social media. Those that try to control the message of their members aren’t really serving their members.

    Internally at AAPA I usually say that if it’s shared w/ the Board & it’s content I can either post online or share via a link, then I’ll get it out there. What’s important to the Board is also important to all our members & rather than sending them all emails every couple of days, we let them consume the content at their own pace. Also, I’ve found that posting content that elicits a reaction will also get your members talking about what they want to see. Or you could always just ask them. 🙂

    Megan – Though I appreciate the response, no need to be so formal. What I’d actually love to hear is why it was chosen to be presented that way. That would at least provide me insight as to what ASAE was planning.

  4. I had some of the exact same thoughts, especially the part about lack of association staffers who are in the trenches doing this stuff. Granted, I acknowledge that’s a tough one; there aren’t too many associations who have social media/community manager types on staff yet so I’d imagine it might be hard to round them up. Then again, you and I both know that just because someone’s title isn’t social media somebody, that doesn’t mean they may not be the person handing social media for their association. Obviously there are many, many associations out there using social media tools and of course someone is behind the wheel at each one.

  5. Maggie – I would love to see them have a social media team (I’m sure there are at least one or two out there) that would be willing to share how they collaborate & reach their members. Just a thought though. 🙂

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