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July 25, 2012

The 40-Year Lesson: Insights from a Retiring Association CEO

Caught in a deadline jam for Associations Now after a snafu that meant pulling several short articles, I was lucky enough to earn the sympathy and help of one of the great leadership icons of our community: CEO & President J. Clarke Price of the Ohio Society of CPAs.

Price is actually leaving us all after 40 years of service. He gave notice two years ago and will head out of the office in December to hopefully tee off on the golf courses of Hawaii and elsewhere, then delve into favorite cause-related activities. I had to cut a bunch of Clarke's comments because of space limitations in the magazine, so I want instead to share them here as advice and insights from one of our most admired colleagues.

1. Association CEOs must stop complaining about time pressures and embrace the huge responsibility they bear for the success of their association's social media strategy. "Social media is one of the differentiators today," says Clarke, who has been called a "Technology Superstar" by one of his industry's trade publications. "Too many CEOs--and occasionally myself included--dismiss social media by rationalizing 'I don't have time for that' when we really do need to be spending time in the social media universe. Whether it's blogging, Facebook, Twitter, or any of the social platforms, the CEO needs to be vocal as one of the loudest and clearest voices of the association and the profession or industry. I'm critical of myself, because I don't spend enough time being part of the social atmosphere."

2. Being an early adopter of technology tools and applications is essential, too. "It's been fun moving from a two-way pager in the early days to the earliest Blackberry to the Palm Treo to the next gizmo iteration and then to the iPhone and iPad that I use today," Clarke says. "And I still carry an old Motorola Razor that I use just because I'm just more comfortable with that sort of phone, and the battery life is great."

3. In the big, long scheme of things, people mean the most. "As a career accomplishment, being featured in ASAE's 7 Measures [of Success] book was a pretty big deal for the organization and me. But I'm proudest when I think about the people I've hired, some who are still here and some who've moved on to bigger roles in other associations and industries or professions," he says.

4. You never forget some of your earliest CEO mistakes--and what you learned from them. It's apparently a long story, but Clarke says one of his most memorable mistakes involved a simple proofreading gaff. "Proofread carefully," he warns. "... I was almost fired in 1975 because of a very sloppy proofreading job on a bylaws ballot sent to every member!"

5. Have leadership role models--a lot of them. "I don't have just one," Clarke says. "I've learned a lot from colleagues in other organizations (particularly the Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio State Medical Association, and Maryland Institute of CPAs)....[and] just observing and working with John Graham the year I was ASAE chair."

And finally--because who doesn't always want to know this when they talk one of the association world's wise elders--what's Clarke's favorite board management tip after 40 years in the trenches?

"Plan! Think through the likely avenues of discussion and be prepared for the unexpected."

I hope retirement brings you expected and unscripted joys, Clarke. Thanks again for sharing not only your thoughts with me but with so many of us over the years in the association community. I'd love to hear what others have to say about Clarke's tips and observations.

You also can wish him well and hear about the books and information sources that have influenced his past and current thinking as a leader if you join us for the education session "Conversations That Matter: What We Learn From What We Read" Tuesday morning, Aug. 14 in Dallas at our Annual Meeting & Expo. I'll be joining Clarke and another longtime industry leader, Gary LaBranche, to lead a rowdy, fun, and very practical (if last year's version is any indication) discussion of the books, blogs, Twitterstreams, and whatever other info sources (okay, the emphasis is often on books) that have jazzed your thinking in the past year. Leave room in your totebag for at least one free book from our giveaway table!

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May 24, 2012

Guarding Your Message


I was listening to a communications specialist who was at ASAE's Membership, Marketing, and Communications Conference yesterday, and she was confiding a message-gone-wrong story at her association.

In her case, members had given immediate and highly vocal feedback that they believed a certain call for an advocacy action by the organization and its membership had strayed from or even "betrayed" its core mission, thus alienating and confusing important donors and leaders.

It reminded me of the Komen Foundation controversy regarding pulled funds for Planned Parenthood programs, as well as comments by political strategist James Carville, whom I had interviewed recently about the art of smart messaging. (Carville will be a General Session speaker with Republican strategist Karl Rove in August at ASAE's Annual Meeting & Expo, so look for interviews with him and Rove in an upcoming Associations Now spread.)

"That debacle was an enormous and, as far as I can tell, unanticipated glitch," Carville said as we wondered why organizations still make serious communication mistakes, even with high-priced PR firms advising them. "Their overall messaging and the pink ribbon were brilliant. That became so identifiable that they were about women's health, and ... they had a real positive outfit. But then they came across as if they were some kind of political advocacy group, and that was particularly damaging. That was a glitch where they did something that was inconsistent with their overall messaging."

Carville talked about the need to vehemently "protect your message with everything you do."

"That's why I always add the dynamic of culture," he said, adding that the key elements of your primary message must be deeply embedded across your organization and lived by everyone on staff 24/7. "Where Komen, as a good example, went off track was that women's health wasn't put first; politics or ideology was put first," or at least appeared that way. That clearly had donors and supporters feeling profoundly betrayed, and I personally wonder how long it might take for Komen to recover, if indeed it can rebuild the lost trust through believable messaging and actions.

I'm interested in whether other associations or nonprofits have opinions of why and when associations mess up their messaging and are forced to execute crisis communication interventions. Feel free to share here and to sanitize players as needed for the sake of discussion.

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December 14, 2010

The Air Force Blog Assessment flow chart

It's been used as an example in at least three sessions at the Technology Conference today. Here it is:

air-force-blog-t.jpg

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April 25, 2009

Associations in Action regarding Swine Flu and Potential Pandemic

With reports breaking all Friday regarding hundreds of both Mexican and American citizens sickened or even killed by a new form of swine flu, associations in the health care and agricultural communities have been busy confirming information, alerting and surveying members about any potential swine flu-related patients, and calming an anxious public even while acknowledging that much—including the original source of the illness--remains unknown.

"At this point, it appears to be human-to-human transmission only," said Dr. Ron DeHaven, CEO, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in a press statement Friday. "We've been in contact with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and there have been no reports of outbreaks among animals, although their members are certainly aware of what's happening and are stepping up surveillance for the virus with federal and state animal health officials."

According to officials, “there is little or no risk of catching swine flu from eating pork or pork products, but as always, proper food handling and hand washing should be practiced.”

The AASV is regularly updating its Web site at http://www.aasv.org with news for its veterinarian members and the general public.

The American Lung Association in California quickly blogged about the six documented cases of this new strain of swine flu in the San Diego area and Imperial County, as well as two cases in San Antonio. It noted that rapid flu tests cannot tell this type of flu from seasonal flu, “and the current vaccine may not be protective. Tamiflu works, as does Relenza.” The post, found at http://alacsd.blogspot.com/2009/04/swine-flu-outbreak-in-mexico-touches.html, also notes that “while there are likely more cases in the U.S., there are no large-scale outbreaks.”

As of this Friday night post, however, CNN is reporting that 75 high school students in New York City are being tested for suspected swine flu.

The National Pork Board also has issued a helpful 4-page information sheet about swine flu at http://www.aasv.org/aasv/documents/InfluenzaFactSheet.pdf.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control has information on the human swine flu investigation at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/investigation.htm.

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March 4, 2009

Dipping the proverbial toe, or jumping into the deep end?

Hi and thanks for taking the time to peruse through a first time blog entry. As a later-comer to the not-so-new world of social media I wanted to find out first hand how to relate to these forms of communication. I am not entirely sure how integrative I want this all in my professional and personal lives. Yet the potential of social media to interconnect people in new ways is both intriguing and exciting. At the Great Ideas conference I decided to go “all in” and really follow other association bloggers who were present, listen to the discussions and try my hand (okay, pecking fingers) at tweeting content during the sessions.

Thinking about it afterwards, I felt both exhilarated and a little overwhelmed about the experience. On one hand, listening to the live discussion and watching it translate into an online event through Twitter was amazing. At times there were discussions happening outside the classroom regarding the topic; then the occasional question came from the online world back into the session itself. Amazing! Here was an ability to engage an audience without significant high tech engagement and still carry the significance. Simultaneously I was following other folks tweeting about the other sessions I couldn’t attend. Wow!

On the other hand, at times I simply couldn’t keep up with the flow. I am a bit older and a bit set in the ways I absorb information; as I clumsily worked my smartphone keyboard I would be distracted and miss part of the live discussion. The twitter stream was hard to grasp too - having to scroll back up to track the online comments, or doing a search for a hashtag were cumbersome tasks. Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t do justice to what the speaker was trying to communicate in 140 characters, resulting in an inadequate comment or not sending one at all. As a regular presenter and educator I wanted to not denigrate the information, even as the topic was ironically about social media.

So, a week after my own internal experiment, where am I? Still interested and intrigued - heck, I’m even willing to embarrass myself through the occasional blog. I’m tweeting less, for which my nonassociation friends are grateful. My posts are more directed, working on content as well as style. I haven’t yet begun to figure out how to integrate/separate pure personal from pure professional. I’m not feeling as unconsciously incompetent (not knowing what I don’t know) as I did two weeks ago; yet I’m not sure if I’ve reached conscious incompetency (knowing what I don’t know). I certainly do thank the ASAE folks who helped me to work and understand this technology, whether in sessions or online. That’s the wonder and power of associations - getting great ideas from folks willing to help out!

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October 16, 2008

Blog Action Days—Can They Really Change the Conversation?

For a good example of the power an organizational leader can have through his or her blog, visit the latest timely post by CEO Bill Shore of Share Our Strength, who details how the financial bailout may impact the nonprofit sector as a whole and warns that with 760,000 jobs lost even before the credit market freeze, the need for programs and services by nonprofits and associations will become ever greater.

His post, like those of many other nonprofit executive directors writing yesterday, coincided with an October 15 “Blog Action Day” in which more than 12,500 bloggers worldwide united to discuss poverty and its solutions. Tracked one-day readership of those blog posts? 13.4 million as of midnight that night!

Can one day’s worth of blog posts fundamentally shift public discourse on a major social issue? All I can say is that issues definitely won’t be addressed if no one is talking about them.

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August 27, 2008

New association bloggers

Ben Martin at the Certified Association Executive blog beat me to it, but I've been meaning to post a welcome for some new association bloggers who recently threw their hats into the digital ring:

- Peggy Hoffman, at the Idea Center blog

- Caron Mason, at the Musings of a New CAE blog (Caron has blogged at Acronym before--we're really pleased that she's launched her own blog as well!)

- Renato Sogueco, at RenatoSogueco.com

- Stuart Meyer, at the Associations 2020 blog

I hope you'll stop by and say hi to each of these new bloggers--and I hope all of them have fun blogging!

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March 20, 2008

Quick clicks: In with the new

- There's a new association blogger in town (at least, relatively new): Bob Wolfe of the Young Association Professional blog. I enjoyed his recent post on how he's using wikis to improve committee workflow at his association.

- The Association Forum of Chicagoland has launched a new YouTube channel. If you haven't seen the "Association Professionals Through the Ages" video they did a few years back, now's your chance (it's hysterical), but there are also more serious videos on topics like creating a business continuity plan and data mining. (Hat tip to Sue Pelletier, who linked to this from the face2face blog.)

- If you're interested in communications, the Institute for PR has started a new "Essential Knowledge Project" that may be of interest to you. So far they've collected papers on crisis communications, ethics and public relations, and trust and credibility--all publicly available.

- If you're interested in the relatively new idea of widgets, Jeff Cobb at the Mission to Learn blog has kindly collected links to more than 50 of them.

- Last but not least, this isn't really new, but it's good stuff: Jeff De Cagna and Cindy Butts have both posted their thoughts on mission statements. If you've ever suffered through hours of mission-statement wordsmithing, you might want to see what they have to say.

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March 17, 2008

Next Traditions Discussion Thread

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It is a great honor to be the author of this month's cover story for Associations Now. In the print version of the magazine, the article is called, "Beyond Today," but you can find it online under its original title, "The Next Traditions of Association 3.0." I hope you will take the opportunity to read it, and share your ratings and reviews. (The rate and review area appears at the end the article on the website.)

This week, my hope is that we can engage in some dialogue around the article and the implications of the argument I make for your association. To get the conversation started, please take the oppportunity to reflect on the following questions:

+What role does tradition play in your association?

+How does/can your organization use tradition as a platform for innovation?

+Among the six "next traditions" discussed in the article, which of them does your association embrace? Which does your association find it difficult to embrace?

I look forward to our discussion. Please share your insights, as well as any questions, in the comment box below!

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February 26, 2008

Quick clicks: New blogs and words of wisdom

- Several more blogs have joined the association blogging world. Vinay’s Blog, starring Vinay Kumar; the CAE Blog, with Thomas Stefaniak, CAE; and Association Station, with Kevin Jerge.

- Rick Johnston wonders if association fundraisers can work together to develop the next great fundraising event idea.

- Cindy Butts has a great quote on her blog today: “Groups use whatever amount of time you give them to make a decision.”

- Sue Pelletier links to a list of deadly sins that associations would do well to avoid.

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January 16, 2008

Quick clicks: New association blogs, PCMA posts

- I’ve come across several new association blogs recently (well, new to me, anyway) and I thought Acronym readers might like to check them out as well. David M. Patt, CAE, is blogging at Association Executive Management; Helen Thompson is blogging at X.0 (I love the subtitle “Guilt by Association Management”); and Margaret Core is blogging at Event Management 2.0. Most recently, David posted about financial and contracts management; Helen wondered if she should pursue the CAE designation; and Margaret discussed converting website visitors to conference registrants. Give them a visit!

- Sue Pelletier of face2face is blogging from PCMA’s meeting, and is sharing tons of good information that she’s heard at the conference.

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October 16, 2007

501cTV

BlogClump blogger Matt Baehr is experimenting with a new medium—webcasting. He’s launched a new videoblog, 501cTV. The first episode is up, with Matt’s take on a recent Acronym post as well as paperless meetings, the value of board service for association professionals, and a bunch more.

I’m sure he’d appreciate your comments and feedback!

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September 26, 2007

Top Ten Ways You Know You're Flying Too Much...

Over the last six weeks or so, my life has felt like one continuous plane ride. I've spent many, many hours in the air during this period, and I've tried to put that time to good use by coming up with this list for your amusement. Just consider it a public service I'm performing on behalf of all the weary travelers in the association world. It's a great opportunity for us to laugh at the ridiculous things that too much flying can do to otherwise normal human beings. (No cracks from the peanut gallery please...)

So, without further delay, the Top Ten Ways You Know You're Flying Too Much!

Continue reading "Top Ten Ways You Know You're Flying Too Much..." »

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August 29, 2007

More on blogs as learning tools

Just a quick post for those of you who were interested in previous discussions of blogs as learning tools: Michele Martin at the Bamboo Project blog has posted additional resources and thoughts on this topic. Enjoy!

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August 12, 2007

More blogging tips from smart association bloggers

  • Keep up with other blog posts that mention your association (through Google Alerts, Technorati, etc.) and comment on those posts. The bloggers will be honored by your presence and will become your allies.
  • Decide on a posting schedule, and stick to it. Choose a schedule that's manageable -- quality is better than quantity.
  • Reinforce the idea that your blog is a discussion: If there is a smart comment, paste it into its own post, which will invite more interactivity.
  • To be an effective blog writer, read many blogs -- not just in your own area of interest, but more broadly as well.
  • Choose a voice and a topic, and stick to it. Your blog might be a personal reflection, or a news sharing vehicle, but it's hard for it to be both -- and your readers will notice when the voice isn't consistent.
  • Read your own archives – you might be surprised at what you find.
  • Your blog could include more than just text -- video, audio, photos. A great source for audio interviews are authors promoting their new books. And if you shoot photos of an event, send a link to the post with those photos to the people pictured in them. They are likely to send the link to others, and to comment.
  • Post idea: Read what your readers what to read and summarize it.
  • Know how many people come to your blog, and where they are coming from.
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June 20, 2007

In praise of Google Reader

I believe in the importance of admitting when I’m wrong—so I have to issue a mea culpa. A few months ago, Jeff De Cagna started a conversation about why more association execs don’t read and subscribe to blogs. I commented that ease of use might be an issue; I read many blogs, but I didn’t subscribe to any, because I found the subscription process to be very unintuitive.

Jeff recommended that I give Google Reader a try. He even provided a link to some very detailed instructions he had written on how to set up a Reader account. But I never made the time to experiment with the Google Reader system until a few weeks ago.

Well, I have to say that Jeff was right: Google Reader is a godsend if you want (or need) to follow multiple blogs. Once you get your account set up and enter the blogs you’re interested in into the system, you can see any updates instantly. Just glance at your Google Reader page and you’ll see an updated blog’s name in bold (or see the new entry on your “All Items” page, if you prefer).

The process of setting up the account and subscribing to all of the blogs I was interested in took about 20 minutes, all told, but it was time very well spent for me.

So, thank you, Jeff! And to those of you who feel like you’d like to follow certain blogs more closely but don’t have the time, consider setting aside a half-hour someday soon to set yourself up with Google Reader. I bet you’ll find that it’s much easier to participate in discussions concerning your association (and associations in general).

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June 7, 2007

Introducing new Annual Meeting bloggers!

It gives me great pleasure to announce the first three new Annual Meeting bloggers who will be posting in the coming weeks, as well as during the meeting in Chicago in August. In alphabetical order, they are:

Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association

Hilary Marsh, managing director, REALTOR.org, National Association of Realtors

Matt White, director of marketing, Illinois Park and Recreation Association

I'll give each of our new bloggers the chance to offer their own unique intros. In the meantime, I want to express just how excited we are about these outstanding additions to the crew of Chicago Bloggers. And they won't be the last association community contributors to join the effort, so please keep reading!

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May 9, 2007

Legal stuff for association blogs

Via David Gammel, I came across a helpful and wide-ranging look at the major legal issues surrounding blogging today—and what U.S. laws and regulations currently apply. If your association is considering jumping into the blogging pool, “12 Important Laws Every U.S. Blogger Needs to Know” will be a very interesting read.

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March 22, 2007

The Blooker Awards

Jeff Cufaude kindly sent me a link to an interesting awards program—the “Blookers,” literary awards for books that started out as blogs or websites. Appropriately enough, there is a blog covering the award process, nominees, and winners.

While it didn’t make the short list for the 2007 award, We Have Always Done It That Way (which was originally published in blog format) is included in the longer list of nonfiction entrants on the right-hand side of the page.

I’m glad I had the chance to read through the list of entrants—I was personally very taken with a “blook” on volunteering in post-Hurricane Katrina Mississippi, as well as Far From the Madding Gerund, a book based on a language blog (yes, I admit it, I’m a grammar nerd).

I wonder if there will be more association entrants in the Blookers next year!

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January 23, 2007

12 tenets of social media marketing

Tying in to Scott's post earlier today about social networking, I came across an entertaining (and thought-provoking) post on the 12 tenets of social media marketing. Some standouts for me include “Thy communications must pass the ‘who cares?’ test” and “Verily, if you can become a useful source of information, your message may be heeded, or at least looked at ever so briefly.”

Of course, if that New York Times article is correct, all this attention to social networking may be over the top—but even if blogs and wikis eventually become uncool, it can never hurt to communicate in a way that makes people care and respond to you. We could all stand to do a lot more of that.

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January 22, 2007

Trust me

Edelman, the public relations firm, has released its eighth annual Trust Barometer, based on findings from a survey of 3,100 “opinion leaders” in 18 countries. Lots of interesting nuggets of information:

- The survey summary notes that “‘A person like me’ or a peer is the most trusted spokesperson in the United States at 51 percent.” A nonprofit or NGO representative comes in third, after doctors and academics. I found it particularly interesting to see that “a blogger” comes in dead last, at 9 percent; I wonder, however, if folks who read a blog on a regular basis stop thinking of the author as “a blogger” and start seeing him or her as “a person like me.”

- Edelman states that, “Trailing only ‘providing quality products or services,’ undertaking ‘socially responsible activities’ is universally seen as the most important action an organization can to do to build trust. ‘Socially responsible activities’ surpassed providing ‘a fair price for products or services,’ ‘attentiveness to customers’ and ‘good labor relations’ in most markets.”

For those wishing to delve more deeply into the findings, a fairly detailed PowerPoint presentation is available. Scroll to the bottom of this summary to download: http://www.edelman.com/news/storycrafter/EdelmanNews.aspx?hid=181


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December 22, 2006

The power of blogs

I believe that one of the most powerful—and underappreciated—things about blogs is their ability to give us an entirely new perspective on a city or a job or a person, a window into a life completely different from our own.

For instance, I bookmarked Scott Lynch’s personal blog because I enjoyed reading his first novel. But in addition to writing, he is also a firefighter, and he blogs about his experiences on the job. A recent entry gave me a peek into the challenges of that job that I had never considered:

“It’s difficult to think of our cuddly, cozy, familiar homes as inherently dangerous places, but believe me, outside of the Acme Razor Blade and Hydrochloric Acid Factory, homes are the most unpredictable and dangerous places you could ever think to have a fire. We keep so much stuff in so many weird places—through thoughtlessness, negligence, or unhappy accident—that can ‘enhance the experience.’ You want a ready-made hazmat incident? How many chemicals do you keep under your kitchen sink? Twenty? Thirty? What fun things happen when you burn them together? How about your bathroom cleansers? Your aerosol cleaners and air-fresheners? Stacks of batteries? Shotgun shells? Knives and swords? Weightlifting equipment? Good lord, what do you have in your garage? Weed killers, fertilizers, several different types of oil and fuel, wasp spray, spray paints, varnishes ... rakes, chainsaws, hatchets, knives ... you've got ’em. I've got ’em.” (Scott Lynch)

Now I have a whole new reason to respect firefighters and the work that they do, one that I may never have thought of if I hadn’t read the blog of a firefighter.

For associations representing professions or industries that are underappreciated or even unknown to the public—could a member’s blog help open people’s eyes? Not a carefully massaged press release, but a simple, first-person account of day-to-day experiences in your profession or industry. I’d be curious to see it happen.

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October 20, 2006

5 more to see

I'm long overdue in needing to put 5 new blogs for people to check out.

You can always see previous lists of five blogs we recommend by accessing the category "Five to See" on the right. The current 5 to See list is always in right-hand column near the bottom.

The blogs on this list aren't for the quick readers—well, most of them aren't. These blogs tend to have long, thoughtful posts and, I would think, tend to be pretty high on the opinion meter. You can agree or disagree with the positions of the bloggers—I certainly do—but they bring rigorous thought to their arguments.

Gladwell.com by Malcolm Gladwell—One of my favorite writers. He writes very fluid prose so even if his chosen topic is dry as a bone, he's a joy to read. I consider him a great critical thinker, and I always take something away from his fantastic New Yorker articles and books.

The Becker-Posner Blog by Gary S. Becker and Richard A. Posner—These are two brilliant minds, Becker a Nobel winner in economics and Posner sits on the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. They tackle wieghty subjects, and you're likely to disagree with them at least some of the time, but the arguments they make seem to combine academic rigor yet be accessible to nonacademic types like me.

Thomas P. Barnett::Weblog—Barnett is one of the heavy influencers in the U.S. military and its approach to the threats in a hard-to-define, turbulent world. The presentation he created about a particular worldview was hungrily devoured by the military braintrust and became the outline for his book, The Pentagon's New Map. He has since followed up with A Blueprint for Action which answers some of the questions the New Map asks. Hard to pin down politically, he essentially speaks his mind with a strong point of view, sometimes criticizing the current administration, other times praising it. And as for strong points of view, how about these to pique your interest:

Iran—let them have the bomb. North Korea—likely to need military intervention to stop Kim Jong Ill.

Global Voices—I'm a big believer that the important news of today is mostly international news. If you still get all of your news from American sources, then you are seeing the world through a pretty limiting filter. This blog is a project that brings the everyday perspective from around the globe into view.

Finally, above I said most of the blogs aren't quick reads. Here's one that is. And it's decidely different than the others. After all that heavy thinking, consider this blog:

DaveBarry.com—Always good for a laugh, Barry has a keen wit and childish playfulness. And, come to think of it, Heavy Thinkers would be a really good name for a rock band.

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October 19, 2006

A couple of good reads this morning

Here are a couple of interesting things I ran across this morning:

U. of Penn's Wharton School talks to some of its professors about how they use blogs (or why they hate blogs) in "To Blog or Not to Blog: Report From the Front" (registration required). It essentially interviews several of the faculty asking them how they use blogs or why the don't. One takeaway nugget: one professor uses a blog as a live, interactive syllabus—posting homework, reading assignments, and the like.

The Washington Post of all places tackles an emerging trend that journalist Alan Sipress calls "the wisdom of the few" in his article "The Top Pickers vs. the Pack" (registration required, I think). It's a riff from James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds, which proposes that a group of people—particularly a large group of people—can make better decisions than any single member in the group. Sipress explains the trend of taking the wisdom of crowds approach, then finding the best performers within a given crowd and using their judgment to make decisions. The power of web collaboration, and no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit, fuel the trend. What does this have to do with associations? See the article from the Winter 2005 issue of Journal of Association Leadership on Surowiecki's book.

And a final link for those truly into the whole wisdom thing, while researching this post I ran across this gem of a dialog between Surowiecki and Malcolm Gladwell on the Slate site.

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September 29, 2006

What Sue Said

Sue Pelletier left a comment on my original blogging post yesterday that deserves a spot front and center:

Blogging and reading blogs (and commenting and linking) has been a huge boon to me in my work as a magazine editor. Since so many associations also have magazines, I thought my experience might be relevant.

I have connected with people throughout the world, people I otherwise probably never would have known existed--the networking aspect is truly amazing in ways I never would have imagined until I started doing it. I have learned new ideas, had amazing conversations, found story ideas and people to talk with to flesh them out. I have gotten to know readers so much better, and they have gotten to know me (for what that's worth). Blogging puts a human face and human voice behind the impersonality of a large organization, and I think that makes a difference. The more members really get to know you and how you think, the more they care about what you and your organization does.

I love that ASAE and the Center got on the blogwagon, first with its show blogs and now with Acronym. What I've read in these blogs has helped me feel more connected to both the association and its members, and what's really going on in the association community.

I hope you get lots of responses to this! We need more stories about the positive aspects of blogging. My experience has been 100 percent positive, and after several years at it, I still haven't been fired. In fact, the powers-that-be appreciate the power of blogging, and the results that blogging has gotten for our organization, as well as for me personally. It's funny, but at conferences these days, I often get more comments about my blogs than I do about the magazines. A blog isn't some scary strange thing that oozes liability; it's just another way to connect people. Why wouldn't you want to do that?

Also, in my new quest to spread some good news about blogging, I found an article from bizreport.com last night about large companies using MySpace and other social networking sites for recruitment purposes: “It turns out that companies ranging from Microsoft to Starbucks to Deloitte to Intuit are finding good uses for [social networks] — both inside and outside their corporate firewalls.”

See...blogging can get you hired too!

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