Voluntary and Professional Associations: Signal and Noise

I receive regular blog post alerts from the Scholarly Kitchen.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) established the Scholarly Kitchen blog in 2008.

SSP’s mission is:

To advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking.

The Scholarly Kitchen, a moderated and independent blog, aims “to help fulfill this mission by bringing together differing opinions, commentary, and ideas, and presenting them openly”.

I admire the way The Scholarly Kitchen goes about sharing openly. I have linked to their posts in a number of my posts.

This morning Kent Anderson has a stimulating post about associations. In his introductory comments he observes:

It’s no secret that associations and membership organizations are facing generational, attitudinal, practical, and economic challenges simultaneously. Many things are going on, but a sampling shows how profound the challenge is becoming:

  • Younger people don’t want to join organizations they see as either irrelevant to them or as fusty leftovers of their parents’ or grandparents’ generation.
  • Organizations haven’t shifted their value propositions sufficiently — they haven’t trimmed benefits to match their members’ needs or added the right new benefits, which means they have value propositions that are hard to explain or just plain wrong.
  • Time pressures are everywhere but associations and societies have bylaws, structures, and practices that demand a lot of time and commitment. You have to work your way up to Board work; there is only one big meeting per year; or all meetings demand travel and multiple days away.
  • Dues are expensive relative to other things competing for the same money — as much as a new iPad or an airplane ticket. All these things compete for money, and there is less discretionary income at the same time.

These trends seem to be cultural universals for voluntary organisations as well as professional associations.

In his discussion of these trends, Kent links to Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers’ 2011 book Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations. He links to a Steve Rosenbaum post too.

Harrison and Mary suggest that relevant associations:

  1. Have a small, competent Board
  2. Empower staff and the CEO
  3. Examine membership categories
  4. Rationalize programs
  5. Build a framework for the future

In his discussion of the framework for the future, Kent links to Steve Rosenbaum and the role of associations in information filtering at a time of digital overload.

Steve suggests that:

Associations are a veritable content creation machine. These groups of thought leaders are blogging, tweeting, meeting, and plugging in to social media with innovation and enthusiasm that in many ways surpasses many of the media organizations.

While media is suffering from audience erosion, as the web gives readers and viewers and ever widening array of choices — association membership remains strong and solid. Why? Because professionals need access to high quality information, professional networking, and professional development resources that a consortium of their fellow members can provide.

Steve adds that:

Professionals need access to high quality information, professional networking, and professional development resources that a consortium of their fellow members can provide.

I am fascinated by how individuals and groups share (or do not share) information. Much of my thinking these days is related to open sharing and the flourishing that is possible through such sharing.

I appreciated Kent’s discussion of relevant associations and am grateful to him for the links to Harrison, Mary and Steve. I believe that knowledge and learning organisations can help distinguish signal from noise and do so in a ubiquitous and asynchronous way.

It necessitates addressing a clear point made by Steve:

So thinking about how to share information from other sources, and how to walk the line between making members aware of other voices without necessarily endorsing them is a complex bit of content calculus.

I think it is trust that can address this complexity. I see trusted collaboration as both energy giving and energy saving. I see this becoming increasingly personalised too.

Photo Credits

Curation Nation Book Party

Woman sitting on a beached boat reading a book

Share @ Mehanata Bulgarian Bar, NYC

Cirrus 111203

A brief Cirrus post to end the week.

I read with interest news of a Little Printer via a Scholarly Kitchen post. Berg has produced the printer and reports that:

Little Printer wirelessly connects (with no configuration) to a small box that plugs into your broadband router. . . . your phone is your remote control. We think of BERG Cloud as the nervous system for connected products.

There is more information about the Little Printer on Matt Webb’s post.

By coincidence the Scholarly Kitchen page had a link to an interview with Clay Johnson.

Marc Slocum notes that:

Clay Johnson (@cjoh), author of the forthcoming book “The Information Diet,” believes the information overload problem is actually an information consumption problem. In the following interview, Johnson explains how reframing the issue around consumption and taking ownership of our info intake are the keys to finding information balance.

One of my consumption issues is how to curate the information I gather. My cirrus posts are one way of doing this for me. My blog has become a repository. This week I was interested to find Lyn Hay‘s post (via a Diigo Teacher-Librarian Group link) Content curation and the power of collective intelligence. I thought Lyn’s post was an excellent resource for a community of practice keen to connect about curation.

The Teacher-Librarian Group in Diigo brought me news of David Kapuler’s Top 100 websites for 2011. David observes of his list:

I tried to cover a wide range of sites, from flash card creators to digital storytelling and of course, social networks, which really shined in 2011.

Photo Credit

Little Printer

111115 Cirrus

I have read some interesting posts this week.

They include:

An ABC discussion of attention and the visual cortex. (Reviewing Masataka Watanabe et al.’s paper in Science, Attention But Not Awareness Modulates the BOLD Signal in the Human V1 During Binocular Suppression)

News of Real Madrid’s use of Cisco’s Connected Stadium Wi-Fi at the the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. “Along with Cisco StadiumVision, the two solutions will allow Real Madrid C.F. and its sponsors to connect with fans in entirely new ways. And by bringing high-definition video of the game to the numerous screens located throughout the stadium, spectators will be able to catch all the action and enjoy exclusive content, even when away from their seats.”

Phil Davis’s post in The Scholarly Kitchen, Statistics and Storytelling that considers “Two thought-provoking articles published last week in JAMA” that make “compelling and complementary arguments to the rhetorical power of both numbers and words in conveying the message of science” (Reporting of Effect Direction and Size in Abstracts of Systematic Reviews, and Narrative vs Evidence-Based Medicine — And, Not Or.)

A link from Stephen Downes to the chaos leadership graphic in the Steve Collis must pay post on the Design for Learning blog. (By coincidence I found Stephen’s link a day after discussing with Shane Fudge his PhD research: “This study aims to utilize a multi-disciplinary approach involving Crisis Leadership, Chaos Theory and Complexity theory, to attempt to initiate an advanced understanding in Sports Events Organising Committee members to recognize the state of constant adaptation their organisational systems exist in today. By drawing on elements of complexity theory, the study seeks to analyze how a leader’s cognition may improve their cognitive complexity when dealing with and understanding the non-linear and dynamic nature of the systems they work within. The nature of the study is to collect qualitative data to fill the research gap regarding how a Sports Event Organising Committee may utilize a different leadership paradigm to improve their crisis management skills, as well as measure the effects of implementing anticipatory systems on the organisations behaviour. “)

A delightful week of discovery that added to my introduction to Olegas Truchanas.

Photo Credit

Ostrich reads caretaker’s paper