The plan for dealing with the crud
So this is my idea for how associations might go about managing centralized and decentralized contentâ€”a way of sifting through the "90 percent" crud of yesterday's post.
I like the idea of separating information into three buckets: (1) bad, uninteresting, or unexplored; (2) interesting, potentially useful; and (3) the good stuff. I think associations should offer as many decentralized opportunities as there is a call for from its constituents (and I think you have to keep in mind that it's ok to tinker, it's ok to build something with high hopes only to see nobody comesâ€”as long as you do it smartly, the more resources you put into it the more sure you should be that it will work).
Where associations add value to their members is both by giving them the tools to create content and collaborate, and by categorizing and presenting that information. The good stuff should be explored and appear in education sessions, magazine/newsletter articles, white papers on the web or in some other way that signifies it as association-approved. With the good stuff, you're saying "read thisâ€”it may be very important to you and your job/company/interest."
Making the good stuff fit for wide consumption is a resource-intensive task. As a result, some interesting stuff will simply not be turned into good stuff. Maybe this takes the shape of peer recommendations or is vetted in some other way, but it doesn't get the same stamp of approval from the association. With this stuff, you're saying "there may be something here you find interesting." This stuff is in some way accessible and designated as this middle category on your website.
The last category is the biggest. You admit that you can't review everything. You also admit that while the association tries its best to pull out the good stuff and interesting stuff for special treatment, there is always subjective evaluation involved, and what is good to one person may be unremarkable to another. In this category, you're saying, "It may not be easy to wade through all this stuff, but it's here for you if you want to. (And let us know if something looks interesting to you.)"
How do you capture and categorize the stuff? There's tons of ways, from volunteers to focus groups to staff to technology. It's really going to depend on the resources you have or could develop. Maybe that's another post sometime, or maybe some people have thoughts or experiences to share. The important thing is to start. You don't have to try to capture and categorize everything. Start with your listservers or with the q&a's that happen after education sessions or chat in your online education courses. Start there, capture some of it, and begin to analyze it, categorize it, and use it.
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