OK, admittedly I can be a jerk at times. Some might say asshat. I have difficulty in holding back my opinions and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. But if you're doing something that benefits our industry, I can also be the most supportive, enthusiastic ally you've ever met.
So when I read Sue's post this morning about Tech3Partners starting a blog, I'm saying to myself, "Great, these guys are well-respected. If anyone can move blogging toward greater acceptance in the meetings industry, certainly they can. I'll tell everyone I know to read it."
Tech3Partners is Corbin Ball, widely considered the leading authority on meetings technology; Jeff Rasco, who has lots of wireless toys and knows how to use them; and Rodman Marymor, perhaps the most prolific creator of meetings ASP technology we have.
Given the combined tech knowledge and experience of these three meetings industry icons, I couldn't wait to take a look at what they had to say.
I'm afraid I can't help myself from opining. Recognizing that most of you will interpret what I'm about to say as being a jerk (or asshat, if you prefer), I hope that Tech3Partners agree to close this blog down for a few days and relaunch with something more appropriate to the task.
Naturally I have some recommendations.
1. Rod, please lose the in-house technology. I know it's your specialty, but please spend the $100/year to use TypePad. Or build on MoveableType and continue to host it yourself. That you don't have permalinks for us to link to, nor comment capability for each individual post, means that you really don't have a blog, at least in today's view of what that means. Not to mention there's no blogroll or noticeable archive system. Sue, I and any others who may come along would love to link up with your insights and opinions, when you get around to posting them. Please let us do that.
2. As Sue noted, although they have an RSS feed for meetings news, you can't subscribe to their blog. Given point #1 above, there's little need to yet, but hopefully that will change. You can't talk about RSS without offering it. And nobody influential is going to read your blog without it.
3. In addition to talking amongst yourself and to those in the meetings industry, talk to the influencers behind the most popular blogs. Folks like Anil Dash, Ross Mayfield, Joi Ito, Rick Bruner and Godin.
Do this for two reasons: first, because your knowledge of technology allows you to take the ideas of these thought leaders who are championing the next generations of social networking technology and using this information, suggest applications us mortals wouldn't conceive of. Yes, Doug Fox was headed in that direction and seemed to have lost his subscribers because he got too deep and esoteric. It's a new day. More people are paying attention. Especially ones who can make a difference.
Second, do it because when these blogging icons get around to responding to you, we can raise the profile of our industry. We get on their radar screen. They'll start thinking about us in ways beyond just another place to find the latest gadgets. And as they all have much more readership and following that any of us do, they'll be spreading the word about us. And wouldn't it be nice to have a meeting or tradeshow held up as a shining example of amazing things that can be accomplished with technology for meetings instead of perpetually lagging behind the rest of the industrialized world.
4. Engage us with the type of content only you can provide. We don't need more rehashes of stuff that already appears on meeting association and publication sites. We need to know who's using technology to make a difference with their meetings and events. We want how-to's, cost justifications, case studies. We want direction on how to adapt so we're more appealing to younger demographics. Take us to places and possibilities we can't see today. Be interesting.
In providing these opinions, my intent is not to embarrass or tell you what to do. You do what you want. But, I've been at this for a little while and I realized it's about building grassroots community and spreading the ideavirus. And it's a long, hard and tedious process, but ultimately worth it. Doing it right benefits many. You have an opportunity to rethink your objectives and how you can best help your community. The above four points are simply suggestions based on hard realities of trying to build and engage readership and start meaningful conversations. Please take them into consideration.
Whew. I feel better. Back to work.