In an age of social media nastiness, in-person social interactions—including at association meetings—provide welcome relief.
I’ve lost track of how many times in the past year or two that I’ve vowed (under my breath, to no one in particular) to banish social media from my life. I’ve never followed through, and I can’t, given that I’m an association professional in a communications role. But there are days—and I know you know what I’m talking about—when the social media nastiness in the world is running high and my just-ignore-it defenses are running low. On those days, I find myself wishing that Twitter, Facebook, and the whole lot of them had never been invented.
In those moments, a conversation with my husband or my daughter or a friend at the office typically swings my mood back up. This is no big revelation: Well into the digital age, most folks I know have developed an appreciation for forms of interaction with others that don’t involve a screen. Even a phone call, offering the sound of another person’s voice, can make a conversation more congenial, more open to exchange of ideas, and far less prone to snark.
This is why association meetings continue to thrive even when technology provides so many ways to learn and work together at a distance. Getting in the same room with other people just feels good. And both research and experience prove that face-to-face conversation and collaboration tend to produce better results.
In this issue, we take our annual dive into association meetings. Our writers talked to meeting planners, CEOs, business analysts, and others to find out what’s working and where the challenges lie, from strategies for small meetings to new networking models to performance metrics.
Of course, between meetings, we post and we tweet and we share and we like. That’s a good thing: Done right, social media builds up relationships. Don’t miss our story on how associations are adapting their social media strategies to keep their communities connected year-round.