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I’ve had a couple of days now to reflect on what the 2009 ASAE Annual Meeting taught me. Learning is what it’s all about, no? Educational sessions, “Thought Leaders”, social media opportunities, vendor products and last but certainly not least, networking. Yes, each of these areas taught me one or more somethings, but not necessarily what I thought I would be learning.  So, in no particular order, here are some of the highlights for me of #asae09.

1. Realizing what a great divide there seems to be between associations who are unafraid to understand what it may take to move forward, what tools are needed now, what trends to watch– and those  who don’t appear to realize business is not “as usual” even if what they are doing is working today. “Today” is a short period of time if you think about it.

Social Media is a key indicator of this divide, as conversations with others showed me. Those who understand the potential and use it now;  those who know there’s an unknown element and risk involved, but who are willing to try; vs. those who are “leaving it to the younger crowd”- -for which I responded with the well publicized statistic that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women between the ages of 55-65.

2. Once again, learning much valuable information, whether from insightful people such as Gary Hamel, Li, Shirky, or Jeff De Cagna’s wonderful, thought provoking session looking toward the future (including his recent post about 2010), and other sessions of importance to me and what I needed to learn for my organization — to Fareed Zakaria’s closing session (once we finally got to him!). I agree with my fellow twitterer @bkmcae, who thought FZwas a brilliant writer but not the best of speakers. I bought his book and already can tell how much I will learn.

Were the sessions relevant to what associations needs are today/tomorrow? Only each attendee can answer that as we vary so. Don’t know if this is feasible for 2010 or beyond, but it would be great to indicate “for beginners” or “advanced”, etc, per each session description. Many of the social media sessions could have been tagged in that manner – so that those who needed the “how to” could get that info, while those looking for “ok you have it, now how do you maximize it, measure it, get ideas from it” could focus, exchange experiences, etc.

3. Really enjoyed the whole “twitter thing” (I am @christytj).  Not only learning from other’s tweets (found myself checking out #asae09 constantly for new info or insight), but discovering that there were so many folks who couldn’t attend the conference who were closely following our tweets and seemed to learn right along with us.  How useful this was too for staff who couldn’t attend, who passed along questions via tweets that were answered by some session speakers directly. How cool was that!

Maybe ASAE should get all 2010 session speakers into tweeting for increased communication before, during and after! Or Facebook, or podcasts, or whatever form of social media is hitting it’s peak next summer.

4. Also am seriously thinking about the questions that are being raised now via post #asae09 conversations. Do I think dues paying membership organizations are a thing of the past? Do I think social media is the only wave of the now & future? Do I think ASAE can change so much between now and 2010 (can any of us)? Will I find the answers in any of the books I bought during #asae09? In reviewing the sessions online? In the tweet exchanges? On Facebook or online articles? Probably not all of the answers, but certainly a lot of input that would never had occurred to me if I didn’t review any of these resources.

In case you missed it: content availability: ASAE’s the Hub has made it easy to find opinions, videos, Twitters, etc. I found I didn’t visit it as often as I should have as I was caught up in tweeting myself  but check it out if you haven’t. Also – just remembered, the book “Free” by Chris Anderson (of Wired mag) was mentioned over and over again – I’ll be getting that too.

And lastly as I sit and face piles of catch up work (yikes), I smile as I think of the numerous conversations I had (and am still having) with old/new friends from #asae09, whether in person, or via any form of Social Media. Can’t wait to continue these, I think of them as the “future is now” chats as I face forward to catch new ideas, new concepts, new things that worked for someone else and take advantage! Thanks.

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A recent article as disseminated by @welovecrowds this morning on twitter, reports on a finding by LexisNexis that there is a distinct gap between the Boomers (44 – 60) and Generation X (29-43) and Gen Y (28 and younger). I liked this article because while it reports on the findings, it also questions the analysis done. Who did they interview, a bunch of stuffy “lawyers” (love that!)? How did they come up with the finding that Gen Y spends 22.9 hours a day on social media? Guess they forgot what that age group would rather be spending 22.9 hours doing.

Per their age definition, I fit in the Boomer category. Per their findings, I fit in the Gen X with leanings toward Gen Y. I’m an inveterate multi-tasker, on my desktop at any given moment you can find Word, Excel, my organization’s web site, Yahoo, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, CNN, Google as I explore new sites and yet even Internet Explorer. In the evenings or weekends, you will also find me, if I’m at my computer at all, in at least three or four of those sites, plus others and now in Second Life too, where speaking of reports, the fastest growing demographic is 50 + (as with FaceBook).

Yes, I think there is a gap between the ages (isn’t there always), in the tech area. But I don’t think it’s as great as the study portrays. Much of the gap stems from how experienced a user is with different platforms and the obvious is the younger you are, especially since schools use so much technology these days, the more time and varied experience you have with these things. And it’s not just the laptop of course, it’s the smartphone (where I not only talk or web surf, but have at any given time at least a half a dozen books to read in case I’m stuck anywhere), it’s the MP3 device, it’s even the vacuum that moves itself (I’ve yet to get one of those, sigh).

I may be older, but my sense of exploration, whether new worlds in real life or via technology, is as keen as my niece’s who at 25 believes life without IMing would be like a pub without beer. The difference? I believe in active conversation with full attention, she believes in active conversation with one eye and two fingers on her phone. I’m getting used to it as I recognize it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t listen any less to me — well, any less than someone 25 ever listens to someone older. It’s just a different “listen” and that’s ok by me. In fact, I know that I’ve been the one she’s been exchanging e-chat with while at dinner with others, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

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Having just come back from a fascinating Digita Now Conference, I’m all hyped up about using the Internet and its tools to communicate with family, friends, colleagues, members of my Association (AAUW), and even strangers – folks whom I don’t know but whom might enjoy reading something I’ve written.

Renewed energy finds me sitting down, getting comfy, fingers at the ready and then a giant pause as I realize if I do indeed use all those new communicating tools, I’ll be at my desk for hours before tackling my as they say in Second Life, my Real Life work.

Hmmm… Posting blogs, commenting on others blogs, twittering (at least 10-12 times a day to keep/get a following), Ninging (is there such a word?!), Evernoting (brand new), PageFlakes (new to me), setting up shop as part of the nonprofit community in SecondLife, Facebook, and of course what takes most of our online lives, email. How do you manage all of these?? As a writer, as a reader, as a professional?

By the time you realize that you have just started learning about social media, and the Digital Now conference taught me that with it’s #dn09 twitter code which found me turning into a twitterfiend, you realize that you need to figure out a way to manage all of these. And that’s just you the individual. Combine it with you the professional, you realize you need to know how to get the most out of these to help promote your mission, your product, your information.

Real life you ask? The family and friend stuff, , the chores, the phone calls and emails – the office, with its own phone calls, emails, and meetings that never end no matter how much you communicate via online tools. And sleep, we’re supposed to have at least seven hours of that somewhere in any given day.

One thing no one has yet figured out? How to make 48 hours a day worth of “to do’s” fit into 24 hours and still leave you sane. Please – any hints, let me know!

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Not the same meaning as in back in the day, well, except maybe “twit”, Twitter and Tweet refer to yet another social networking tool. From the Twitter site itself:

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.  People write short updates, often called “tweets”  of 140 characters or fewer.  These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.”

Hmmm… have you ever watched someone twittering, or even using text messaging while driving? I have, and believe me, I hesitate to drive with them again. I’ve watched cars cross traffic lanes, not stop, even come at me and saw them typing away with one or two fingers while occasionally glancing at the road.

Safety aside, do you think people, other than those or should I say some of those who love you, really want to hear what you are doing every minute? I’ve seen women in restrooms twittering as they told their waiting friend that they were, while, let’s just say, while they were using the facilities.

The most interesting twittering experience was during a recent conference, Fem2.0,  where we followed the twitter link, shown in real time on a big screen behind the speakers. We (the audience)  read the approvals, the questions or even the “get on with it” comments being sent throughout. As a speaker, that would really keep you in tune with your audience and if you were savvy enough, be able to respond immediately. That’s cool.

Twitter, Tweet, Twit. Wonder what the next new communication method to take over the world will be – or maybe already is?! I’ve seen a variety, but not heard any of front runner as of yet. Do you?

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