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  • Mainly about engagement and collaboration using social media and events, with some asides on living in London. More about David Wilcox and also how the blog started.
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Thanks for pulling this all together David. I'm really looking forward to taking this work forward with you.
Megan

Oh David.... why do you always get me thinking when you raise difficult topics like this!!
You raise the very questions I am thinking about and that face organisations like mine (NAVCA) at the moment.
Do we feel threatened and even cheated out of memberships (money!) by Social Networking 'pseudo-membership' sites or do we re-invent traditional membership organisations to do new things for those who choose to align themselves with our stated values?
Will be interested to see how this develops and the discussions at the CR conference!

Hi Paul - glad we have struck a chord! We'll open up a space somewhere after initial discussions with RSA, NCVO, Ruralnet ... which then raises the question of what's the best tool(s) to move this sort of discussion forward ... :-)
We certainly plan to discuss this at a workshop at the conference
Meanwhile you are welcome over on the RSA Networks site personally or bringing wider NAVCA interest. We plan to take an open, collaborative approach to this - of course!

Have registered at RSA.
Also blogged to loosely tie together possibly similar themes from Laura, Paul Caplan and yourself at http://watfordgap.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/youve-got-to-be-in-it-to-win-it/
Lets see where this one flies to!

Hi David, looking forward to seeing where this discussion leads, it's certainly something I think will be a major talking point over coming months. I'll maybe be posting some thoughts on the 3s4 site, but meanwhile here's some pithy responses from across the pond: internetartizans

Thanks Simon - nice piece from Dan McQuillan, as you say ... though he is UK. I too was contacted by the journalist he mentions, who was researching the English Heritage Our Place site. I held off commenting at the time ... but will go and take another look.
I can see why organisations will want to create Our Places behind a login, but it does re-inforce the silos. One of the good things about the Net is the chance to cross sector/professional boundaries. I don't think we need more.

Really want to have this discussion with you David (oh but the time pressures are so acute at the moment!).

My 'big question' though is...

"A small charity/support group/building preservation group etc. charges a joining/membership fee which gives members access to special news and information that non-members don't have and goes towards the upkeep of their building etc. Some members see the potential of Web 2.0 and set up an on-line community without a 'walled garden' approach and allow anyone to contribute to discussions but don't earn anything from membership fees. The original group loses membership renewals as those interested can get all the information they need from the 'open web' leaving little for those remaining to cover the original purposes of the charity. The original group struggles to continue with a dwindling membership to maintain the 'walled garden' and meet the original aims it was set up for.
They face a dilemma of either closing or having to diversify and look at other sources of income to generate the revenue lost through less in membership.

Thoughts?

Hi Paul - interesting scenario and a great way to look into the realities (need more scenarios for the project!).
Top of the head response: Media of various sorts enables us to consume information, commune and communicate with others, create and collaborate. Social media and web 2.0 make consuming and communicating more open, so paid-for value disappears.
This should challenge the group to ask its members what they would really value ... more get-togethers, opportunities to do projects together ... then look at how to provide these services. They need to move up the spectrum. Where's the need/benefit?
What do others think?

Thanks David.
I think I do know the answer, but the answer is a hard one. (Excuse my deliberate playing of the devil's advocate!)

Change confuses, Change hurts, Change is cold and scary!
They say "what is this spectrum". Why do WE need to change?
The membership organisation does need to look at its communication methods and its reasons for membership, but they are "traditional in outlook" and not yet at a point where everyone is on board.
(Could add they are on dial-up, in a rural village hall and ... and ... !!)
I say look at what the Government want to do - barcamp was innovative, forward thinking ... they say look at the CDs lost in the post and not knowing who we are talking to on-line.

I say - give me chance. The internet is a friendly place with lots of people trying to help.
I meet organisations like this every day! They know they should prioritise ICT, but the funder/stakeholder won't let them or the service to front line clients is more important.

It's a real toughie David!

Hi David, this question has added a new twist to my thoughts about designing for a sense of place in distributed communities.

There is a whole set of practices around designing your membership scheme - in the context of busy people with multimembership in many groups - to be explored.

You've got me on the track of thinking about the connection between membership, multimembership and managing your identity at the intersection of lots of memberships.

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