Breaking the silence

by Ben Martin, CAE on June 17, 2013 · 0 comments

Hey, if anyone’s still reading this… I’ve recently started my own business called Online Community Results. I provide day-to-day management, community manager coaching, consulting, and strategy services for organizations who run (or want to develop) online communities for their constituents. Click through for all the juicy details!


Almost three years ago, I unsubscribed from ASAE’s awful, circa 1995 listservs. I was getting nothing out of them. Read up on my riveting experience.

But, time marches on, people start new jobs (haven’t heard my news?), yada, yada, yada… I recently updated my ASAE listserv details and began receiving daily digests again.

So here’s a popular question on ASAE’s listservs (and, to be fair, some others that I’m a part of):

I’m trying to market a conference.
How do I get my members to
tweet, do facebook, and various and sundry other
social media stuff so I can
reach them with marketing messages?

They could have just said: help me get my Anglophone members to listen to my French-language advertising.

Mon Dieu! Rule #1 of marketing: Know thy market. That’s why it’s called market-ing.

If your market isn’t tweeting, facebooking, foursquareing, or whatever, your association probably shouldn’t be putting too much time and energy in communicating through social media.

I repeat: Know thy market. Communicate like they do.

When I was at VAR, I figured this out pretty quickly. In 2007 I was hired to give our association a social media presence, and I did. We were viewed as a social media leader. I was asked to write articles, speak, consult. Awards and recognition came, my email and voicemail filled up with messages asking for my advice, and other associations in our industry followed suit.

But a funny thing happened along the way: I discovered that our blog, tweets and facebook posts weren’t making much progress in catching up to our magazine and e-mails in popularity. I won’t claim to have executed the perfect social media strategy, but it was a darn good program. The e-mails and magazines were more effective. Period. So we redirected our efforts into e-mail and print.

We didn’t stop doing social media. We did it smarter. Faster. And in a way that supported print and e-mail. Come to my session at the Great Ideas Conference on March 13 at 2:45 for the juicy deets.

Your market will give you their attention if you communicate a meaningful message in their terms, and on their terms. It’s not quite that simple, but you’ve got to start there.

– fin –


You know what I hate about Facebook? I hate that they can innovate seemingly endless ways to sell my information to corporations, make it difficult for me to maintain control over my privacy, and complicate the process of deleting my account, yet they can’t come up with a means for me to transition my Group members into Page fans or to transfer my Pages from one owner to another.


Saw someone Tweet out today that tabbed Internet browsers had revolutionized the way he works. That got me thinking about a few computer skills I’ve learned to get the office work done as efficiently as possible. Here are my top six tips on how to get that computer work done, and FAST! These tips are for PCs:

  1. Avoid the mouse. All those little movements to take your hand off the keys to take hold of the mouse add up to a lot of inefficiency. As much as possible, try to keep your fingers on the keys. But once you’ve got your hand on the mouse, leave it there until you’ve got to go back to typing. So how do you keep your fingers on the keys as long as possible???
  2. Windows hotkeys. Get familiar with and comfortable using all of the hotkey combinations you can get your head around. Just experiment for awhile to see what they do, or read up on them. My faves (and perhaps little-known): Alt+Tab toggles between open programs, CTRL+K inserts a hyperlink, Window+L locks your computer, CTRL+Enter sends your e-mail in Outlook, CTRL+(right or left) arrow sends your cursor to the beginning (or end) of the next (or previous) word, CTRL+SHIFT+(right or left) arrow selects the next or previous word.
  3. Dual monitors. They say you can expect at least a 10% increase in efficiency just by adding a second  monitor. I’m thinking for me it’s been at least 50%. deuxExamples of how I use two monitors: Calendar open in one screen, timesheet software in the other; budget on one screen, written report on the other; reading a report on one screen, writing about it on another. I’ve been using two monitors for about four or five years now, and you’d have to pry my second monitor out of my cold, dead fingers. It’s hard to imagine going back. For even better efficiency, try DisplayFusion. It offers a bunch of features for dual monitors that Windows doesn’t support, like a super-useful hotkey combination that moves the window you’re currently working on to the other screen. (Confession: At times recently, I’ve felt the need for a third monitor)
  4. Speed up your mouse. If it takes you more than one swipe of the hand across the mouse pad to get from one end of the screen to the other, your mouse is too slow. Speed that thing up so that you can traverse the entire width of your screen with one pass.
  5. Right click everything! It does so many different things in so many different places – just try right-clicking stuff and you’ll be amazed what you can do. My favorite: Right-click a program in the task bar for options like Maximize, Minimize, and Close.
  6. Google Desktop. This has been a life-saver for me. If your office is anything like mine, everyone on staff files their documents differently. Some store them by type of file, some by year, some by project, and so on. Install Google Desktop and have it index your network drives as well as your e-mail inbox. Learn the hot key (CTRL twice in quick succession): This opens up the Google Desktop search box and away you go.


Image file formats: JPG, BMP, GIF & PNG. It matters!

by Ben Martin, CAE on June 3, 2010 · 1 comment

I’m surprised to see many organizations continuing to publish Web pages and send out e-mail messages with low-resolution images embedded in them. They look sloppy and amateurish – definitely a turn-off for me and, I’d hazard to guess, other Web savvy people.

Check out this image from Wikipedia that shows the obvious difference between two of the most popular file formats out there.

In an effort to help put to an end to this unseemly practice, here are some image file format pointers: [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Really? An NRA dancing flash mob? Really?

by Ben Martin, CAE on June 2, 2010 · 8 comments

Some folks seem to be intrigued or even enamored with the National Restaurant Association’s dancing flash mob at a recent event. Pardon me if I seem a bit skeptical, but I’m wondering:

  • If I were an NRA member, would this would this 21st century version of the electric slide make me more or less likely to attend an NRA event in the future? (Out of respect for others, I prefer to do my dancing in dark, crowded places, where my ridiculous moves can’t be easily discerned — some of you can attest to this)
  • What value did this add to the event?
  • How is it that everyone in the flash mob knows the dance? Was there a flash mob rehearsal? (oh, look! there was)
  • Why is there a lady holding a red “Flash Mob Dance” sign?
  • Couldn’t they have done a flash mob around something, say, restaurant-related?

The whole thing seems a bit too forced, contrived, and — dare I say, corporate — to me.

Lesson learned? Social media is usually best left to the community.


If the membership recruitment market’s got you down, try this

June 1, 2010

Forwarded to me by a member of my team, I think this has a lot of potential. Just print a membership application on the reverse, mail `em out en masse, and watch the cash just roll in.

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I just got a handful of Google Wave invites

October 23, 2009

Been using Google Wave in a limited way over the past few days since a friend sent me an invite. I need more friends to play with. If you’d like one of the invites, just shoot me an e-mail: b (at) BenMartinCAE dot com and I’ll hook you up (while supplies last, some restrictions apply, […]

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Kinda sexy, in a Judy Jetson way

October 19, 2009

Because checking your watch during a meeting isn’t quite as rude as checking your BlackBerry, the fine folks at RIM bring you the BlackBerry InPulse Smartwatch. Now, your Pavlonian teeth-grinding response to BlackBerry buzzes can be accompanied by repeated pulls at your cuff to glance at your “watch.” Me? I’m waiting for the BlackBerry ImPlant. […]

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Association humor, thanks to FailBlog

October 13, 2009
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