Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why I Doubt Associations Will Become Filters for Digital Overload

I admit, I was surprised but happy to see the headline "Will Associations Become Filters for Digital Overload?" in the Huffington Post. Happy because I'm always glad to read things pertaining to associations outside the association bubble--or maybe I just don't read the Huffington Post regularly and they always post about associations. Regardless, if you read this blog you probably know what my first thought was when I read the headline: of course I do not think associations will become filters for digital overload! Why not? Here are but a handful of the reasons:

  • Associations care about their own content and are threatened by sharing content created by others. How many associations would be comfortable sharing content created by rival organizations? Or non-members?
  • Associations already create so much of their own content and deluge members with email--it will be hard to lose the "there's no such thing as too much" mentality. And if their own content isn't enough to drown members, how many associations also rent their email lists as a source of revenue? Will they be able to justify any potential lost revenue from less email marketing and/or list selling for the iffy ROI of content curation?
  • Associations are, for the most part, staffed to perform traditional publishing and marketing functions. They are not hiring for social or digital--again, for the most part--and when they are it is usually at a junior level. How will these junior level staffers--or no staffers--trump the "way we've always done it" senior staff? Or are those senior staffers the ones who are suddenly supposed to do an about-face on their traditional content backgrounds and embrace doing things a new way?
  • There are so many other organizations that are more nimble than associations that are doing content creation--I am highly skeptical that associations will be able to win the competition for attention. Associations are not winning at innovating now; what's going to suddenly change?
These are just a few of the hurdles that come to my mind when I think about associations as content curators--what others am I missing? Or am I wrong and associations do have a good shot at becoming filters for digital overload?

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