Buzz2009 Social Media For Associations--Why I Wish I Was Going

Right now I should be battling traffic on my way to BlogPotomac but, because I don't want to go down in the bad mom hall of fame as being the mom who chose a blogger conference over her son's grade-school graduation, I'm not going. I did slog through traffic hell to go to the happy hour last night, but since I didn't know anyone there, I totally forgot the names and faces of the people I'd vowed to go say hi to and beat a pretty hasty retreat. Such is life. I did meet a few nice people, though, so all wasn't lost.

The heartbreak of my summer, though, will be if I don't get to attend Buzz2009 Social Media for Associations. I've already blogged about the reasons I'm so obsessed with going: a) it's being put on, in part, by my friends Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer and b) Guy Kawasaki--who recently shared a Navy ship with my ultimate blog crush The Bloggess--will be there. Unfortunately, though, like every other association out there, my association's professional development budget is on hold so unless I start scouring my house for stuff to sell on eBay, I won't be able to go.

But aside from socializing, the reason the conference will be so awesome is that the focus will be on association social media. How many other conferences can you say that about? I believe that would be none. What's the difference, you say, between regular social media and association social media? Either way you slice it it's just a bunch of nerds talking about Facebook and Twitter, right? Hey--wrong!

Even though there's always tons of talk about social media in an association context--ASAE conferences, blogs, listservs, etc--the bulk of those conversations revolve around the theme of convincing fellow association people that they should be using social media. Case studies about what associations are doing, lots of slides and stats and reports--all of it essentially a sales pitch for why your association should be using social media. Here's the thing: I'm in. I don't need convincing or 101 sessions on what is Twitter and how should you be using it, etc. I need help.

That's right--help. Because the fact of the matter is, association social media is tricky. It's like the classic wedding/marriage analogy. You make the big announcement 'We're getting married!" or, in this case "My association has agreed that we need to start using social media!" The wedding day comes and goes, as do the drafting of social media guidelines and strategies, of unveling your association's page on Facebook or Twitter account. And there you are. Now what? How do you keep the momentum going? How do you navigate the silos? How do you measure success? Or failure, for that matter?

These are the kinds of things I want to hear about and talk about, in the company of people who are dealing with the same challenges.