I want you to use your imagination and picture something. You decide to join some interesting professional association and take a trip to the annual conference. You pick up a registration packet and start leafing through sessions. Then you notice something weird…every single session is presented by the same presenter. Silly right? Seems kind of like an episode of the Twilight Zone?
While this doesn’t happen at conferences, this is the way too many groups and associations approach their blogs. With just one voice. Maybe it’s the manufactured generic voice of a group’s marketing department or maybe it’s just the staff person the group decided to be the most web savvy. In any case, it’s missing something.
What it’s missing, of course, is the group. But that’s not true with a community blog like AEA365.
From the AEA365 About page:
AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and is dedicated to highlighting Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Rad Resources, and Lessons Learned for evaluators. Beginning on January 1, 2010, our goal is to feature a post a day from and for evaluators around the globe.
A community blog is a single blog with multiple authors. You maintain one source, one blog feed, but you reach out to the community behind the association or group to create content. Any association is built on the expertise of its members. Members make conferences and journals valuable. The same logic should also apply to blogs.
One thing you’ll notice as you peruse AEA365 is that the blog itself is pretty devoid of pictures, videos and other embeds. The reason for this is that the site writes for an audience mainly consuming the content via email. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I understand the need to write to the audience reading your stuff, but on the other hand, you lose a lot of the things that make blogs special. With all that said, AEA365 is doing what it should, relying on its experienced member base. Hopefully more association and group blogs will follow suit.