An email yesterday from IABC brought news of a new member benefit – The IABC eXchange.
In development for some while, this new resource offers a great opportunity to introduce every IABC member to blogs and blogging.
According to IABC, though, it’s much more than simply an application for writing blog posts:
The IABC eXchange is an online tool for networking and collaboration. Developed based on member feedback, the IABC eXchange allows you to create member-only discussion groups, private working groups and blogs that the whole world can view and comment on. You have the power to designate who can join your conversation: Grant co-author access to fellow members, allow others to submit entries which require your approval to be posted or make it your own personal platform for sharing your ideas and opinions. The IABC eXchange also lets you create a personal profile, including a photo and information about your areas of interest, to help you connect with your fellow members.
Based on WordPress MU, the multi-user version of WordPress, setting up your own place in The IABC eXchange is very easy.
So easy, in fact, that I’ve set one up myself, which took me less than five minutes.
One thought I had was would this new member benefit lead to diminished use of long-established online resources such as the IABC Memberspeak discussion forum, or IABC Buzz, the more informal chat place.
Hard to tell, but I don’t see why that should necessarily be the case. Much will depend on what IABC members do with all the choices.
And perhaps that’s the real beauty of what’s now happening online for IABC members – they are the ones in control of the conversations, and which resources they want to use.
A lot of thought (and testing) has clearly gone into The IABC eXchange, judging from the well-written help screens, dialogs and video tutorials you see, meaning that even the most blog-novice IABC member will be able to set up his or her own blog in a matter of minutes.
If you’re an IABC member, you can get started here.
Well done, IABC!
Nice Apple-style theme you have going on there, Neville!
I agree this is very cool, and it’s clear lots of work went into preparing for the launch of this service. I set up an eXchange blog, like you, just to check out how it works and it’s a very impressive initiative.
There’s one thing I’m missing (and maybe it’s there and I have literally just missed it). IABC needs to have some sort of eXchange home page that not only explains to the outside world what eXchange is, but acts as a promotional/discovery tool for members’ blogs. The new system seems excellent, but decentralized to the point that short of emailing my blog URL to other members, there’s little way for them to discover my blog. Having some sort of Huffington Post-style landing page featuring various eXchange blogs would be fantastic.
Otherwise, I’m very impressed.
Thanks for taking a look at eXchange, and giving your readers your assessment of it.
You have raised the question about what will happen to IABC Buzz and Memberspeak. We will be evaluating usage of both of them to see whether we should maintain them, but for now they will stay.
Actually, I see them as having two different purposes than eXchange. The Buzz was conceived as a place for members to share information about job changes or awards or even life changes. Our model was the last page of a college alumni magazine. Of course, we could also start a group on eXchange for sharing that kind of information.
As for MemberSpeak, I see its value now for the one-off kind of question, where the member wants an answer to a question, but does not want to continue the discussion on the topic.
But both of those views are mine. The future of The Buzz and Memberspeak will be determined by IABC members, not its president.
So I now know of at least one other IABC member with an eXchange blog, Chris! Agree with you re things missing. Don’t forget this whole thing is beta so I’d expect to see features like that being added in short time.
Julie, thanks for your comments. I think you’re right re Memberspeak and Buzz being used for different purposes. My impression of Memberspeak is that it does seem to be a place for getting questions answered rather than conversations: few topics have threads in double digits.
I think the beauty of eXchange is what it may do for stimulating discussion and connections between members, where the way in which that happens and where it goes will entirely be up to individuals now that IABC has provided the framework.
Equally interesting will be to see how the overall eXchange concept develops, eg, into an actual social network.
So I’ll be staying tuned! Well, and writing now and again in my new eXchange blog ;)
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