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“Social Media Club” has Nuked the Fridge

*sigh*

I heard the news today that Chris Heuer, of Social Media Club, has formed a “Board of Directors” of 42 people to, well, I don’t really know what they’re going to do…

Maybe you can figure it out. Read this paragraph, and try to make sense of it. While you’re at it, try to deduce if it came from a “social media” group, or some barking mad 20th century corp-speak organizational announcement:

The new interim board has been charted (sic) to address several key organizational and strategic deliverables, including development of membership goals, acceleration of local chapter development, increase in adoption of industry standards and implementation of a new legal structure to enhance future growth … The board will also focus on increasing its research efforts and strengthening relationships with other organizations such as the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) and the International Association for Business Communicators (IABC). The interim board’s work will be completed once the club reorganizes as a new entity, and holds an election amongst its members for a formal Board of Directors.

I consider myself friends with several people on this list, but I can’t make ANY sense of this.

Good thing Social Media Club is “reorganizing into a new entity”, because it’s surely dead if it’s spewing stuff like this. And I don’t like the looks of the “new entity”. Looks like a lot of big, corporate, inhuman, non-sensical entities I already know… :-(

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11 thoughts on ““Social Media Club” has Nuked the Fridge

  1. Pingback: spatially relevant

  2. Pingback: Chris Heuer's Insytes

  3. Josh,This is me, speaking for myself and not as the official mouthpiece of SMC.
    It may seem that 42 is unmanageable. It may also be that the mission statement isn’t clear.
    However, that’s what us 41 (and a player to be named later) are going to fix, in committees and as sub groups.
    As far as I can tell, we’re not planning on sitting around a board room, with a big Tweetscan dashboard, looking at what’s going on. There is always great energy at local meetings (and I’ve been to meetings in about 5 cities). This is a chance for those leaders to share info with peers from other towns, and also to help much more clearly define how the group works together nationally.
    There is research to be done on Social Media’s impact, on metrics, and on the legal issues that can dictate the course of how the internet is used in the future.
    There are also important standards that we can support, and when 18 groups in cities all around, including developers, communication professionals and customers, all are in alignment, I think we can move the needle.
    I hope you’ll help, as the mission becomes clearer, and the opportunity to pitch in presents itself.

  4. Ditto – except that I will speak on behalf of SMC (I am the Founder and President, and happen to be married to Chris Heuer).

    When we put the request out for help, we were looking for 10 people to put a couple of hours a week/month into SMC. We had 41 say yes. It blew us away. Rather than whittle the list back to 10, we will break up into smaller groups, responsible for managing specific projects along the way and working to engage the community around us to keep everyone involved. That excites me.

    And when the interim BOD feels SMC has the appropriate structure in place to run efficiently, SMC members will vote to elect a permanent BOD of 5-6 members.

    This is not a corporate setup, and it is not some PR stunt. We are also not interested in letting it grow unmanaged via a wiki page as we could not meet our mission of connecting the cities with one another or helping promote media literacy and open standards if we did.

    I hope it helps to clarify what we are trying to do. It has been footloose and fancy free over the last two years, but a little structure never hurt anyone and I think the community around us will be better for it.

  5. Howard, I wish you (and Chris and everyone at SMC) all the luck in the world. Speaking from experience in similar organizations (I’m on the board of Legion of Tech, a non-profit group that organizes geeky evens in Portland like BarCamp, Ignite Portland, and before that, I helped organize the Portland Podcasting and Portland Social Media groups/meetups as far back as 2004), I think you’re going to find it harder than you’d hoped to get anything useful done in a group this large. Maybe I’m wrong. But the LoT board is only 9 people, and it’s hard enough to get involvement and participation from 9 (I’m just as guilty of not participating enough as anyone). I shudder to think of what it would be like trying to get a group of 42 proud, intelligent, strong-opinion-having people to agree on ANYTHING. But like I said, I wish you all the luck in the world.

    I’m not trying to be a know-it-all, or arrogant, or “attack before trying to understand”, like I get accused of, but I do have experience with this, and I know what I’m talking about.

    In the end, I have an opinion about how user groups/meetups/local clubs/whatever can be successful (unconference events, the BarCamp and Ignite models, etc.), and so you do (standards, metrics, mission statements, and strategic deliverables). Our opinions diverge. That’s all I’m pointing out here.

    As far as helping, I’ll offer my advice – take it for what it’s worth (this particular piece of advice isn’t being received very well). But I believe in a different way of doing community and social media and events that I don’t think is compatible with what I see SMC becoming, so I think I’ll choose to limit my participation to being an “unsolicited independent adviser”.

    Again, I wish you luck! (I really think you’re going to need it!) :-)

  6. @Kristie – I’ll echo what I said to Howard – I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope you achieve your strategic deliverables and mission.

    I’ll be over here, under my bridge, watching. 😉

  7. I’ve sat on 2 boards (one non-prof and currently at a state university) and I can tell you without a doubt that 42 people is unmanagable. Heck, even 10 might be tough!

    I don’t know these people or this organization but I’d bet my life savings that they will fail.

  8. @Josh, I cut and pasted that paragraph into Word 2007 and ran the readability statistics on it:

    * Passive Sentences: 50%
    * Flesch Reading Ease: 0.0
    * Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 28.0

    Don’t feel bad that you can’t make ANY sense of it. There might not be any to be found. 😉

  9. Hi Josh,
    What I noticed about the list of 42 was that it only included a few people from the corporate world who are executing social media/community marketing programs on a daily basis. As you know, talking about social media is much easier than doing social media programs.

    The discussion I had with Chris H yesterday on Twitter inspired me to write a blog post (link below) on why we need more doers to speak up about what’s really working and what isn’t in social media. The hype is deafening, and a move like the one the SMC did kind of fuels that flame, imho. I mean no disrespect to the group and the wonderful peeps on it. Just adding my different perspective to the conversation.

    http://www.conversationsmatter.org/2008/07/09/the-antidote-to-social-media-over-hype-do-and-document/

  10. I think the key is that this is a working group. Emphasis on working. If you’re not careful, we might nominate and and elect you to be the 42nd member. :) Your points are certainly understandable. I’ve been on more boards and groups than I can possibly remember. There is no perfect formula. Chris and Kristie are doing very well with this effort, in my view.

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