Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Technology Detox for the Seriously Wired

Could it be that a day will come when destinations will actually promote their "no Wi-Fi" status? 

As so many hotels have scrambled not to lose their business clientele and as more and more workers are expected to be in touch during non-working hours, the American vacation has gone the way of the Dodo bird and the planet is increasingly wired. It is very difficult to locate a place that doesn’t have some kind of ability to tap into the internet.

Dropping out of the world's many cell phone networks requires finding a very remote vacation spot. Over ninety percent of the world's population currently has cellular coverage of some type, according to Wireless Intelligence, a data research service provided by the GSM Association, a trade organization of mobile operators. 

Seeing as my job has me connected more hours than not, the idea of unplugging seems both frightening and healthy to me. I can also see how there is an emerging need for a special detox from technology. Are you hearing me, California? Spa owners? I am suggesting you repackage your “relaxation getaways” into technology detox treatments for the chronically online. 

What I see:
  • A tranquil spa-like atmosphere with kindly people who go through your bags when you arrive to store away all electronic and communicative devices
  • Special herbs and fresh vegetable grown on locally owned organic farms
  • Treatments for eyes, wrists, arms, hands, backs for everyone who can’t help but push buttons all the time
  • A choice of yoga, meditation, spiritual walks, communing with nature, etc
  • “Working sessions” for creative online workers who are forced to use pen and paper to come up with technology and communication ideas for when they leave…blog posts drafted in pencil, etc
  •  A track for presentation skills without the use of any technology
What do you think? What else would a Tech Detox have? How long would it be? What would the desired outcome be? 

Personally, I think it would be refreshing for us all to remind each other of how interesting it can be to do things in a different manner than we are used plan presentations with paper rather than be forced to use other slower forms of communication...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand

Today at noon ET! "Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand" call 1-218-936-7979; access code 189780 #CRPLunch

More info at

This Month's Topic: Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand
Guest Facilitators: Cynthia D'Amour, President, People Power Unlimited
Nancy Toombs, Executive Director North Carolina Chapter Appraisal Institute

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going to the Dark Side? Hardly.

Thanks to my talented group of friends who continue to mentor and teach me new things along the way, I am finally getting around to writing this post about the decision I made to go into consulting and what I represent to the association community now.

This is important because I spent many years at three separate associations and thought I might always work for a non-profit. Many of my closest friends today have come from my involvement with associations and only know me as "KiKi Who's Koo-Koo for Chapters!"

It was from that love for building relationships and from that passion for watching member communities grow that I found my passion for working with groups using new forms of media to reach out to members. I watched as the members in each organization struggled with many of the same processes. I learned from each instance a tough situation landed at my feet due to a lack of communication between members and national. I made really great decisions that had awesome results for my organization. Shock of all shocks, I also made mistakes. Through it all, I began to find a warm, comfortable place for myself in the association community, making friends at ASAE & The Center events and learning, always learning, from those around me.

And then, one day, I looked around and realized I had a pretty accomplished group of friends. Moreover, I had even done quite a bit myself to increase my knowledge and get "out there" to start sharing what I had learned. I tried to take the things I learned and apply them to my own job where some big and some small changes happened fairly quickly. I reviewed studies before they were published and I helped out on courses before they were announced. My participation in my professional organization was paramount to these accomplishments and opportunities and I could relate better to my own members as a result.

With all of that, I figured I would stay in the non-profit world for life. Truth is, I loved it! Of course there were the occasional personality conflicts and sticky situations, but all-in-all I had found my niche. *peaceful, happy sigh*

There was just one problem. I didn't have anywhere to go.

I couldn't see any changes for growth coming my way, which was odd to me because I felt so much attachment to the association world and to my job. Was I to be in the same position forever? I felt a little claustrophobic.

I was also concerned because I wanted to stay involved in my professional association duties, but there was less and less support for those types of activities (much less, for any additional types of professional development) due to the economy and I was taking on more and more expenses personally.

Then I began to hear from a variety of people about changes...mostly working for other organizations, but also to do this thing called "consulting"...which I dismissed at first. Sometimes after presentations people would come up to me and ask if I did consulting work on the side and I would take their cards and say, "No. But if you ever want to talk about [whatever subject I had just talked about] let me know!"

Who knew? Wish I'd kept their cards. ;-)

So here I am...a technology management consultant for DelCor. And what does that mean, exactly? Well, everyone told me it meant I was "going to the Dark Side" which is kind of a joke, but actually it feels like the world has opened up again. It means I can help the associations who are our clients leverage their use of social media successfully with their members. Not just one organization, but many! You can read more about my actual work here, but that is the gist of it.

So, association world, who is KiKi today and what does she stand for?

I help members connect and communities thrive online.

It has been over a month since I started at DelCor and I love it. The work I've done with the blog, presentations, and clients has been amazing. Within the past month I have given three presentations, written a lot of blog posts (I'm not pausing to count here), studied for and taken the CAE Exam (still waiting for the results!), and worked with a few clients. What I love about my job is there is an emphasis on learning and being a part of the community that I have grown so fond of. I'm also able to work on helping many different types of organizations solve the same types of problems I've worked on before.

So, have I gone to "the Dark Side?"  I've always looked good in black. ;-)


Will Change Change? by Ifedayo Oshin

What will happen to change?
Will change change as all things?
Or will it develop immunity
And embrace hypocrisy?
Will change resist change
And go against its doctrinaire?
Why, will change change not
Should nothing be permanent, even change?
Since change is also a thing.

Our world changes daily by seconds
Our lives in the roller-coaster of time
The noon gives way to the moon
The dawn turns dusk
At intersections of these:
One enters, another exits
One moans, another mourns
One rejoices, one regrets
In the spate and space of time;
A jungle becomes a haven
The oblivious became renowned
Riches become ruins
All on the altar of change

ifedayo oshin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What If Associations Offered Free Membership for One Day...Announced Only Using Social Media

Those people over at Acronym blog have inspired me. Their month of big ideas has association bloggers buzzing and I have to admit that I've been thinking a lot about the resulting posts. What a fabulous way to wrap up the year...with our sights set firmly on the future!

My idea isn't a big one. I don't think it is even particularly clever, which is why I think every organization should adopt it. I think associations should identify one day a year for free memberships and keep it secret until the actual day...then announce it using their social media outlets.

Why do I like this idea? Because I think it is exciting to think of watching the word of mouth and viral nature of the promotion unfold during the day...there are so many things you could do with this! One thing it would do for sure is point you in the direction of the social influencers in your industry, if you don't already know who they are.

Fun messages could be prepared to go out immediately after the new members sign up, welcoming them and providing them with some online resources and groups they could join immediately to start taking advantage of their memberships...advising them to check out webinars or other types of materials a web savvy member would be interested in.

Who's in? If your organization does this or is planning to do it, please let me know about the process and results.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Participate in Association Chat (#assnchat) on Tweetchat

Every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern, a conversation about association hot topics takes place on Twitter. Jeff De Cagna (Principled Innovation) heads up the weekly chat, although sometimes he has guest facilitators take the lead.

The conversations usually provide at least a few nuggets of helpful information making it a worthwhile hour for participants.

Not comfortable following chats on Twitter? I made a short webcast showing how to easily follow a conversation using TweetChat.

Please join the conversation!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Event Hype: Have You Signed Up For My Talk Yet?

Next Thursday (Dec. 10) I am joining forces with smart-guy Sean Bordner to talk about "Private Social Networks vs Publicly Available Tools" at the Grand Hyatt Washington. 

I'm pretty excited about this presentation topic because it is a question a lot of association people ask me and one that I faced previously in my career. How does one know if it is enough to have a presence on Facebook and interact with members from there as opposed to using a private network built to work with a database?

Not every association has the same goals or needs. We'll get to talk about that during the session (I'll be giving examples of associations who have successfully stayed with a public social networking tool) and it should be a good time.

The event is free, but you need to register to attend. It starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m.

If you have any suggestions about association examples I should use or if you have any questions about the event, please let me know by commenting here or emailing me at klitalien [at] delcor [dot] com.

Here's what we're scheduled to go over:

  • How are associations utilizing publicly available tools?
  • What is the process to follow when making the decision?
  • What should you look for in a public or private solution?
  • Can both options peacefully coexist within the same organization?
  • How do you measure ROI for a community?
  • How can you make sure that whatever you choose integrates with your overall strategy?
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twitterverse, I Love You

I'm all about the love lately...I love gadgets, I love lurkers, and j'adore Twitter!

Why all the effusive sentiment? This morning I was meeting with a group at work discussing Twitter and I posted a number of questions to the "Twitterverse" to answer. People responded with some great tips for tools and advice on using Twitter, so I wanted to share that feedback with all of you.

It's all about the love...
  • kirbstr @kikilitalien I like @SocialWhale best right now, it has a web-like interface and has great extra features #delcor
  • maggielmcg RT @kikilitalien Dear Twitterverse: Please share your favorite Twitter tool! #delcor
  • maggielmcg @kikilitalien Also, Twitter widget in Netvibes--has retweet feature that works the right way! #delcor
  • desabol @kikilitalien My faves are SocialScope on the Blackberry. Socialite and Tweetdeck on the Mac and bit.y for shortening.
  • EmilieBarta @kikilitalien My favorite Twitter tip = interact!! Don't just push out information; Twitter is a two way street.
  • ericjgruber  @kikilitalien, and Mention Notifier ( #delcor
  • RvanHilst @kikilitalien I love Twhirl for operating both work and personal accounts at the same time. #delcor

KiKi L'Italien What is your favorite Twitter tip? I'll share it at my work meeting on Twitter this morning #delcor

Jeff De-Cagna
Jeff De-Cagna
Use Selective Twitter status app on FB so you can choose which tweets update your FB status. Is this the kind of tip you're seeking?
4 hours ago · Delete
KiKi L'Italien
KiKi L'Italien
Actually, a very good one. Point taken! :)
4 hours ago · Delete
Deirdre Reid
Deirdre Reid
If you're in a helpful mood and short of time, do a filter in Tweedeck by "?" and see whose questions you can answer. Good for associations!
4 hours ago · Delete

Thanks to everyone who responded! It really added to my meeting and alerted me to some good tools I wasn't aware of. Feel free to spread the love by adding more tools or tips below! :)