The New Competition for Our Association Chapters

The next competition for our association components is right on WordPress in the form of the WordPress Meetup. It was launched with a grandiose proclamation in January on the WordPress blog: “We hereby declare 2012 as the Year of the WordPress Meetup. You’ll want to get in on this action.” It is breaking the game wide-open.

They define the WordPress Meetup simply as “ people in a community getting together — meeting up — who share an interest in WordPress, whether they be bloggers, business users, developers, consultants, or any other category of person able to say, ‘I use WordPress ….’”

Why is this competition for my association of [insert any profession!]?  Good question since it would appear this is only about blogging. Look beyond that. Do you see how thousands of organizations are recognizing that people want both virtual and face-to-face connections? And they are responding by harnessing the power of social tools (many which are free to facilitate this. Each becomes a story that further shows our members there is an easier, less expensive, less hassle, less time-consuming, fun way to get the face-to-face connection.  And if you aren’t offering the same, they will look outside or minimally just say “no thanks” to the burdening obligation of your chapter. Some will even say, hey I can use Meet-up.

Look at little closer at the promise WordPress makes: “ Running a popular group takes time and money … We don’t want it to cost anything for someone to run a WordPress meetup, or to attend one — building local communities should be as free as WordPress itself! And yes, its building steam – check out the WordPress Meetups in action.

Notice how WordPress understands that people don’t want extra work. And instead of approaching the question of “how do we connect people geographically” they didn’t start with form:  let’s have chapters. They started with function: people want to learn from each other, share examples, get hands-on help, etc.

I think this is a wake-up call to us. How can we unburden our groups? How can we re-imagine our local “meet-ups”?