My previous post on the annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) addressed the “vital signs” of e-learning in the association sector and offered the opinion that there is clearly much interest in e-learning among associations and that ASAE could be doing more to provide support and guidance. I also approached the conference with an eye to what sort of advances Web 2.0 technologies seem to be making in the sector (given that at Mission to Learn we feel there is a strong affinity between many Web 2.0 technologies and more “traditional” e-learning approaches). The elusive definition of Web 2.0 itself perhaps makes this a more slippery topic, but my general feeling is that Web 2.0 is making its mark in the association world albeit slowly.
As with e-learning, I looked to the Learning Labs offered and vendor presence in the exhibit hall as my key sources of evidence. While I was not really expecting a “Web 2.0” or even a “Social Media” category for either of these areas, I was nonetheless a bit disappointed to see no obvious evidence of either of these topics in the Learning Labs. I did, however, attend “The Role of Technology in the Marketing Mix (Part I)” on Saturday, and was encouraged to see that Ben Martin was part of the panel. Ben covered a number of social media tools that can be used effectively for marketing (most of which, in my opinion, can also be effective education tools). His handout from the session is:
Ben was also responsible for pulling together the unconference—or, perhaps un-Learning Lab—Bloggercon for the third year running on the second day of the ASAE meeting. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 bloggers or bloggers-to-be in the association world gathered to discuss, among other topics that came up, how to more effectively draw association professionals into blogging as a resource as well as how associations can use blogs most effectively as a communication tool. I’m not going to do it in this post, but I am hoping someone will publish the great list of tips that came out of the group.
I was glad to see a growing interest in blogging as I think it is a tool that has great educational potential (and in many cases has already realized this potential). It is perhaps appropriate that interest in this and other social media technologies is mostly growing organically, from the ground up, within the ASAE community. Even so—and while I don’t want to overlook the fact that ASAE has established its own blog, Acronym—it would be great to see social media addressed as a formal part of the meeting agenda at ASAE 2008.
With respect to blogging, other social media technologies, or Web 2.0 in general on the exhibit floor…well, I may have to hope for commentators on this posting to provide substance. Certainly the major AMS providers and Web development shops have embraced Web services and rich applications to at least some extent in recent years, and there are more than a few companies that offer applications aimed at building community. The only company I came across that really seemed to have a social media-driven strategy was an Atlanta-based firm called The Port. (I welcome comments from anyone who knows of groups I am overlooking.) They don’t seem to have much association experience to date, but they may be in the right place at the right time.
Comments welcome as always.