I’m at the gate at the Rochester airport waiting for my flight to Chicago for Holiday Showcase 2007, sponsored by the Association Forum of Chicagoland. Apparently Chicago is home to the national headquarters for many national organizations.
I guess it makes sense for organizations like the American Medical Association to locate in Chicago, since you can probably fly nearly anywhere in the lower 48 from there in less than three hours, with no connecting flights. Assuming my flight works out today, I’ll probably get a first-hand experience with the reasons for this. My 5:25 flight to Chicago was canceled and I was rebooked on the 6:55. Now we’re told it will be 7:30 before we leave. Still, I should be in my hotel room by 10 if all goes well.
(My seatmate here at the airport isn’t so lucky; he was going to Buffalo, but has already missed his connecting flight. We’ll both be staying in Chicago tonight.)
I’m glad I don’t have to catch a connecting flight. Traveling to Chicago involves fewer moving parts in our hub-and-spoke airline world, so locating there means fewer meetings foiled by travel SNAFUs. Probably a big selling point for the Association Forum.
I’m looking forward to participating in the Forum’s Knowledge Lab tomorrow morning. I’ve been asked to be the resource presenting on the implications of Facebook for organizations and associations. I understand this will be something like a science fair, with some brief presentations of core material punctuated by a highly interactive Q&A environment. I expect I will meet a lot of interesting people from diverse organizations, and that’s part of the fun.
If Necessity is Invention’s mom, free tools like Facebook may claim its paternity.
Facebook is so versatile, and because its platform offers opportunities for programming and customization, organizations may find it meets their long-term social networking needs.
At a minimum, associations should explore Facebook because they can create pilot social networks quickly and easily. They can experiment and learn what they like about it, and then if they decide to move to a so-called “white label” solution they can apply what they’ve learned through Facebook in their next iteration. And while a social networking site can’t completely replace face-to-face, it can powerfully supplement what organizations do with their conferences, creating stronger and longer-lasting relationships among participants.
I expect the discussion tomorrow to be stimulating as I meet people looking to accomplish various goals through social networking sites.