Month: August 2007

Social Media Unconference @ the Forum

*UPDATED – NEW UNCONFERENCE INFORMATION

Date: September 13, 2007
Time: 8:30 – 10:30 am
Location: Association Forum on The River

Our goal is discuss social media and explore the unconference format. This introduction to the not-even-close-to ubiquitous Unconference event, begins with an introduction by the organizer re-articulating the purpose, format, guidelines and topics. Attendees then gather around white wall and pull topics to discuss (gathered from blog comments and topics addressed that morning) in satellite groups. Attendees are then encouraged to participate at table conversation that discuss one of the selected topics that pique their interest. Attendees are free to roam about, hoping from table to table. This session will be broken into segments based on the activity of the discussions. We will allocate 2 hours for this mini-unconference.

Potential topics* of discussion are:

  1. Getting started with blogging
  2. What is Web 2.0…Really
  3. Getting started with casting
  4. Learning in the Web 2.0 World
  5. Creating Cultivating (had to do it) Online Communities
  6. Raising the Bar to eKnowledge
  7. Findability: Enterprise Search for User-generated Content
  8. Creating value with 2.0
  9. Getting started with wikis (community stewardship, knowledge creation & sharing, project management, tagging and search)
  10. Micro-targeting New Constituents Through Social Networking Sites
  11. Something on the basics of being a social media USER (how to set up a blog reader, how to edit a wiki, how to subscribe to podcasts on itunes, etc.)
  12. When People Can Pursue Your Mission without You using social media tools.
  13. Internal applications of social media
  14. Designing a social media strategy

We encourage people interested to post their own questions to the blog to seed the session with their own interests.

*A similar unconference that took place in D.C with these initial topics.

Not-for-Profit and Private Equity?

More and more, vendors are being asked in RFPs the question, "is your company funded by a venture capital?". Today I saw this press release:

ARC Solutions Inc., a Washington, D.C.- based provider of association management software, has raised $2 million from Advantage Capital Partners and Enhanced Capital Partners.

How do you feel about the relationship between not-for-profit vendors and private equity firms? There are a host of publicly traded companies these days in this space, Kintera and Blackbaud to name a few. Are there any feelings on these type of relationships and whether not it interferes with the interest of the community/client? Does anyone believe that this has any effect on an organization's decision to select their vendor?

Innovation Of Conference Evaluations

So today I get back into the office, what’s there waiting for me after
4 days of being away at the conference? An evaluation to review and
assess my last 4 days of learning labs, thought leader sessions and
general sessions. You’ve got to be kidding me. There is no way I am
going to take the time to review the last 4 days of conference
sessions.

Why? I’ll tell you what, it’s not because I don’t want to make next year a better experience. It’s because
these long surveys are daunting, exhausting and too time
consuming (as if blogging about it is much faster). If I
wait and put it off a couple days, it’s not as fresh in my mind and my
desire to complete the survey plummets exponentially.

So what’s the
solution? How can organizations capture the data and get the essential information they need to improve? How can they increase attendees response rate? Perhaps it’s
stepping away from the traditional method of survey forms. Let’s be
honest, response rates aren’t exactly stellar. The data is pretty
clear that nobody likes doing them. According to Wikipedia, “response rates sometimes 90% before 2000, but have been dropping fast since then (now 2% – 30%)”. Other outlets report a 10-15% response.

The solution:

First, the attendees need to be surveyed more discretely. My vision for the survey comes in comment form and has a one-to-one relationship with a session. This open-ended
approach has a major setback for the surveyors: the resulting
data is much more difficult to sift through compared to a likert-scale,
multiple-choice or ordinal style survey. While these types provide precise numerical result sets, they ultimately do not illustrate attendees true feelings. Conversely, attendees can be more
articulate and expressive in their feelings while using open-ending mechanisms. Comments or feedback provide surveyors with specific pros and cons. The current survey methods provided responses that are guided and generic, such as “was this conference beneficial?”, “strongly agree”. While an open-ended user comment could say, “mustard for me, while waiting for comcast”, “wiki…boom”, “this session is packed”, “according to DTJ, on avg your members belong to 2 other assns. So much for ‘my members’ “. As you can see, the latter feedback shows attendees who are engaged and provide information to demonstrate that their session was a success.

Secondly,
data capturing should be broken into digestible segments. Take the multi-day summary and replace it with a concurrent engagement, occurring during or immediately following approach. The
difficulty here is how to interface with attendees and have attendees interface with one another. Let’s think about it…what do most people carry
around at conferences: bags of takeaways, handouts, laptop and cellphone. The
single item every individual has in a session these days is a cellphone. Perhaps a system that segments sessions and allows attendees to live chat
or chat immediately following. This data
should be accessible and publishable from a handheld. Similar to the txtmob
experiment this year, which provided a pretty good example of how it could be used. However, a few fundamental differences exist. Multiple groups would exist and they would be concentrated per session.