This month's online edition of ASAE's Association Management magazine includes an article on podcasting in which I am extensively quoted. As the association community's podcasting pioneer--a new completely immodest, self-referential superlative that I just created (whadda ya think?)--I'm very proud to have been included in the article. I'm grateful to Jesse Alter, who was with AM at the time, for the fine job he did with this piece. I hope you'll check it out!
It's been the year (or so) of the blog, which is funny because most Americans say they are not familiar with the online sites.
That's the conclusion of a new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, which found that nearly three-quarters of the public -- 74 percent -- is "not too" or "not at all" familiar with the sites. Blogs (short for "Web logs") are online journals in which amateur, and sometimes, not-so-amateur, pundits discuss whatever is on their minds, from television shows to political candidates. The remainder of those polled were divided between those who said they were either "somewhat familiar" (19 percent) or "very familiar" (7 percent) with blogs.
Three percent of the respondents said they read blogs every day; 12 percent said they visit them at least a few times a month. Forty-eight percent said they never look at the sites, and 24 percent said they do not have access to the Internet.
What I find staggering about these statistics is that in 2005, 24 percent of the people surveyed still do not have access to the Internet. Am I wrong to be that stunned? Is there some role that associations should play in addressing this issue? And trust me that it is an issue, not just of technological advancement, but of education, health, political discourse and, yes, economic growth. Your ideas on what associations can do to lower that number are encouraged and welcomed.
Google announced today its test of Google Video, a new service that allows users to search TV content online. At the moment, the company has signed up only a few content providers including PBS, the NBA, Fox News and C-SPAN. As Google's press release explains:
The Google Video beta enables users to search across the closed captioning content of a growing number of TV programs that Google began indexing in December, 2004. Entering a query such as iPod will return a list of relevant television programs with still images and text excerpts from the exact point in the program where the search phrase was spoken.
Since this is only a beta, you won't be able to view actual video excerpts online, although Google says it is working with content providers to provide this additional benefit going forward.
Google Video is just the latest in a series of recent initiatives from Google, including Picasa (organizing and sharing photos), Keyhole (accessing satellite images) Google Print (making library books from leading universities searchable online), Google Scholar (searching academic journals and papers) and Google Desktop Search. These applications are simply the first few elements of an emerging Google "search ecology" grounded in the company's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In addition, while Picasa and Keyhole were Google acquisitions, the other tools are products of the company's on-going innovation effort which is so integral to their continued success..
This post isn't about innovation or about associations. This post is about something truly remarkable that happened right in the middle of the unspeakable and horrific tragedy in South Asia. Read it, shake your head in disbelief and then feel profoundly grateful for teachers who really make a difference. And, if you can, please give something to tsunami relief as well. Thank you.
Happy New Year from The Association Innovation Blog!I want to wish everyone who reads this blog, everyone in the association community and everyone, everywhere for that matter a very happy 2005. I hope those of us who really care about the future of associations and who share a concern about the way things are going can find a way to work together to make 2005 a remarkable year for this extraordinarily important community of ours! I look forward to using TAIB as a vehicle for advancing those efforts.
Before I get to the actual post, let me just add a quick plug for my 100th postto TAIB. Tomorrow, I will have been blogging for exactly 16 months (my first post was September 2, 2003) and I am going to keep on blogging in 2005. In fact, I hope I will spend more time writing (and recording...sorry text lovers!) this blog, because it is something that I genuinely enjoy. Thank you all for reading and listening. I greatly appreciate your continued support.
I don't think anyone will be shocked by my choice of innovation as the top issue for the association community in 2005. Perhaps the first four issues--the (impending) death of best practices, competition, new science and technology and intangibles--were actually clues designed to guide you toward this final choice. (Hmm...am I that clever? ;>) And I suppose it might seem like a bit of self-serving choice, since innovation is "my thing." I might even willingly plead guilty to that charge. But I know deep inside that this is the work we must do and that we're meant to do.I know that in the 21st Century, associations are destined to transform the landscape of society for the better, and our only hope for seizing the initiative and setting that agenda is devoting ourselves to the whats, whys and hows of innovation today.
For issues #3 and #2, I've decided to do a single post to make sure I get both of them in before the year comes to a close. In 2005, I am convinced that both new science and technology (#3) and intangibles (#2) will become more important issues for all associations. On the sci-tech front, we are beginning to see some extraordinary developments in a range of fields, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetics and computing. I'm not saying that understand it all...but it is very cool and important stuff and I'm trying to learn as much as I can. The reason I'm trying to learn is that it is becoming increasingly clear the emerging scientific revolution of the next decade is going to have a profound impact on every facet of human endeavor and we had better start getting ready for it right now.
As for intangibles, we're not so much talking about a new issue as one that's been largely neglected. Associations are organizations that can create value only by working with their intangible assets, such as knowledge, networks and relationships, brand, and reputation and influence. With the possible exception of the advocacy arena, I would submit that most associations do a terrible job of managing and fully leveraging these intangible resources. I also would argue that many associations suffer under the crushing weight of their "intangible liabilities," such as ineffective governance structures, member intransigence and politically-motivated (instead of strategic) decision-making.
To close out 2004, I have decided to post (in ascending order) the top five issues I hope we will be talking about in the association community during 2005. I can't guarantee that we will talk about them, but I will do my part to drive those conversations and I hope you will as well.
I will post #5 and #4 tomorrow and #3 and #2 on Friday. The #1 post will come on January 1, 2005 and may well end up as my 100th post. If you want to suggest an issue for #1 that will also make it the 100th post, please post your comment below. As always, your comments on what I write are encouraged and welcomed!
I'm very excited because I was just able to secure a Gmail account. For those who aren't familiar with it, Gmail is Google's e-mail product (it was launched in April of this year) which is currently in beta test. You can only get an account if someone who has invitations to share sends you one. (Incidentally, I was able to secure an invitation by going to a Web site called Gmailswap. It was pretty easy. If you're interested, I suggest you check it out.)
Gmail is very cool because it organizes your messages into "conversations" rather than folders. You can see the whole conversation you have with someone very easily. I suppose the main benefit of Gmail, however, is that the account provides 1 GB (1000 MB) of storage for free. By comparison, my current personal e-mail account made available through my broadband access provider--to whom I pay money every month--only offers me 250 MB.
Anyway, now that I have my Gmail account, I am in search of an invitation to Orkut, which is Google's social network/community building site. If you have an invitation to share or know of someone who does, please send me an e-mail. Thanks!