aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Association Membership Takes to Web 2.0

Posted by Ellen on August 3, 2008

It’s been a few weeks since our national conference, and it’s been crazy in the aftermath. As I mentioned earlier, we took the risk of offering a pre-conference event for our members on how to leverage Web 2.0 tools to help marketing and communications with their customers and staff.

It was a risk. A lot of people couldn’t seem to make the shift from our roots in the hospitality industry to a topic that seemed so “techie.” We offered a panel session that covered a broad view of how Web 2.0 was being used across the membership and one that hit specifically on internet copyright and security issues (with thanks to the US Copyright Office for providing one of the experts).

The most popular segments were the overview panel (which talked broadly about what Web 2.0 tools are and specifically about how fellow members were using them) and a break-out session on podcasting and wikis. Participants got the chance to see how these are done and to participate in creating them — the best type of learner experience we can offer.

Word about the event spread quickly so that even before the week was out I had a request from a future conference committee chair that we consider bringing the event back.

Here’s the kicker: even though the event likely lost us money (the numbers are still out), we are considering ways to bring it back anyway.

What was more important than our members learning how to implement Web 2.0 was helping them to understand how social networking and other online sites will (if they haven’t already) come to them. Lively discussion about how this happens and what to do about it — embrace it, of course, but how?!? — opened a lot of eyes and won a lot of converts.

So much so that within the week the president had decided to create a project team to investigate how the association will approach Web 2.0 options. 

Yes, that sound you’re hearing is the off-key voice of Ellen, an alto in the chorus she has been reluctant to join, singing, “If you don’t get onboard with Web 2.0, your members will leave the dock without you.”

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