Technology for Communities – FullCircle Blog Organization Photo Set

Technology for Communities Flickr Set by Full Circle Online Interaction Blog. The images clearly took a lot of work and thought and would benefit many of our non profit clients in positioning their organizations.

Part of my focus on the process behind organizational acts of "organization" is from recent reading on rational, natural and open systems of organizations.  The concept of organizations-is-not-a-noun resonates and leaves us with "there is only the act of organizing over time".  Thus an open system

And be sure to read the post on Simon Pulman-Jones – Using Photographic Data to Build a Large-Scale Global Comparative Visual Ethnography of Domestic Spaces: Can a limited data set capture the complexities of “sociality"

Distributed Authoring – Vocal Authors and the Silent Majority in Associations

ExampletendenciauthorspiechartsSome eye candy for those interested in Associations and Organizational dynamics. 

First, I firmly believe that successful online organizations can be identified by looking at three primary characteristics:

  1. Distributed Authoring – humans adding content and the wisdom of crowds
  2. Strong Subgroups – meaning active committees under 150 people typically
  3. Transparency – a level playing field must be in place for all with controls

These were first articulated in "Engaging Your Membership: What Are You Doing and What Should You Be Doing?" and the Distributed Authoring bullet was expanded in "The Concept of Distributed Authoring for Membership Associations ““ Getting Your Association to “Virtualization“.  And of course everything we program in Tendenci is designed to facilitate these three organizational goals.  But at the end of the day it is up to the association to determine the action and policies it will demonstrate.

Some data.  Here is one graphical snapshot from a randomly selected Tendenci client in aggregate.  I changed the numbers a bit, but in a statistically consistent way so the trends are valid.

ExampletendencisitedocumentsaddedalluserThis first graph is almost completely useless.  I am just sharing my initial frustration.  With over 10k users on the site, less than 50 are adding content for others to read. 

I filtered out stuff like editing a profile or registering for an event as those are more data entry in my mind.  Authoring means contributing an article for the newsletter or posting an event on the calendar (again this is subjective and my opinion).

ExampletendencisiteactiveauthorspowerdisOf the members of the sample association adding value to the group as a whole through authoring content, they follow something close to a power curve. 

I did try fitting a logarithmic and an exponential distribution, but the power curve was the closest match despite the divergence as it approaches zero.

This last graph is a pie chart limited to people who actually added content.  Again the data has beenExampletendenciauthorspiecharts changed a bit, but not much, so the trends are consistent with the actual distribution.  Note again that there are two or three super users adding most of the content that is read and absorbed by the entire membership

Specifically the top 5 users are adding almost 85% of the content. 

One possible explanation is that someone is functioning in an administrative role (not the security level but the act of functioning administratively) with others emailing articles and society events to post on the site.  This is likely in my opinion based on observing interactions and I made no effort to correct the data for author versus typist.

Exampletendencitrends_1A possible future post or article should probably look at which articles and events are being read the most.  Something along the lines of what AttentionTrust is interested in as long as it can be done anonymously for the users (nobody likes big brother, especially me!).  Thanks!

Graham – Sarfati: Mapping The Future of Your Association: Eight Super-Trends

GrahamsarfatiassociationseightsupertrendWorking with numerous association clients I try to study organizational structures and trends.   I was pointed to this association PPT presentation by a client with similar interests.   If you are a sociologist or are involved in associations I highly recommend a review of the Graham-Sarfati association super trends presentation deck (linked below).

Mapping The Future of Your Association: Eight Super-Trends
John Graham, IV, CAE, President and CEO, ASAE
Susan Sarfati, CAE, President and CEO, The Center for Association Leadership

Full PPT recommended! –

  1. Demassification – Break-up of the Mass Market
  2. Unbundling – One-Size-Fits-All No Longer Appeals
  3. Scrimping – Greater Return on Dues Investment
  4. Wave 3.1 – Knowledge, Not Information is the Competitive Advantage
  5. Virtualization – Virtual and Personal Relationships
  6. Cyber-Mobbing – Web-based Communities are Organizing for Advocacy
  7. Scrutiny – Oversight Demands Greater Transparency
  8. Counter-Americanism – U.S. Styles, Values, Products No longer Dominate the World

update: Got a comment from Ben Martin (see comments) with ASAE who is trained on all sorts of association stuff and is certified to deliver the ASAE presentation to your group.   Give him a shout at   What makes social software so interesting is that you can NOT predict the outcomes of social groups.   Which is exactly why we need to study and seek understanding starting with Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy and going forward.

update2: Speaking of virtualization, Jason McElweenie, Katie Laird and I delivered a webinar on Podcasting for associations for TSAE on Thursday Jan 26, 2006.   Contact TSAE (or Join) for a recording of the webinar or contact me for a copy of just the presentation deck on podcasting.