Tech Conference Takeaways: A Tale of 290 Tweets

Last week's ASAE 2012 Technology Conference & Expo was full of story lines that got people talking—and snarking—on Twitter. Me included.

I don’t know about you guys, but I tweeted a lot last week.

In two days of covering the ASAE 2012 Technology Conference & Expo in Washington, DC, I spent a lot of time really getting a feel for the major story lines bugging association execs far and wide, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re all trying to get a feel of the shaky ground around mobile, the cloud, and social media.

Wouldn’t you know it, we’re all trying to get a feel of the shaky ground around mobile, the cloud, and social media.

Rather than giving you a play-by-play of everything that happened, I’d like to think of this conference in terms of the tweets I sent. I counted, and between Wednesday and Thursday, I sent roughly 290 tweets on my @ErnieSmithAN account, where I live-tweeted all of the sessions I went to. (Sorry if I blew up your feed!) Anyway, let’s check out the highlights:

The most controversial claim

Associations Now’s Mark Athitakis touched a bit on this question—raised during the town hall session on day two—in his blog post today, but the moment is worth pondering a little more. To put it simply, there are still association executives out there who see FTP as an equivalent to Dropbox, which is really more of an always-on file transfer mechanism than FTP will ever be. Really, Thad Lurie, CIP, CAE, of the American Wind Energy Association, had the perfect response to this:

But on the other hand, Dachis Group’s Dion Hinchcliffe, speaking during his closing general session, offered a little bit of ammo for the anti-cloud (or at least the anti-someone-else’s-cloud) folks with his talk on intermediaries:

I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of the cloud being an entry point for losing your grip on data, but there’s definitely an argument to be made about considering what you’re letting go of by moving toward the cloud.

Who needs Klout?

Speaking of controversial topics, Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis scored one of his own by mentioning the value of using Klout or similar scoring mechanisms to track influence and engagement on various social platforms. As AN’s Joe Rominiecki noted in his piece on Solis’ speech, this drew a ton of chatter on social media, much of it negative. Sample:

During the Q&A portion of his presentation, Solis backed off slightly, noting that he didn’t personally like services such as Klout but saw their business value. The point needed more than a little finessing, but TMA Resources’ Jay S Daughtry, M.Ed., pinned it down in a nutshell:

Does Klout matter? At all? Curious if anyone relies on Klout for business purposes.

Responding to Responsive

One of the major discussion points throughout the conference, in multiple sessions (including one on the creation of this website [PDF] ) was the value of responsive design, especially as a way to get around the cost and complication of designing an app. There are many arguments for and against creating apps and going with responsive design instead—among them being speed, quality, and development costs. But, along with cloud computing, it proved a main story line of Thursday’s town hall and was a common topic during the breakout sessions, with responses like this one in common:

But ultimately, this point really says it all:

In the end, there were a lot of great takeaways from Tech ’12, but the biggest one might be that last point. A lot of impressive technologies were on display—including Delcor’s retro-leaning exhibit, loaded with the kind of video games I spent my childhood playing—but in the end, the only technologies that really matter are the ones that make sense for your members.

Though admittedly unorthodox, if you can make an arcade machine work for your association, more power to you.

What’d you get out of Tech ’12? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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