Can a Social Media Club Have Virtual Members?

Social Media Club badge In line with the responsibilities I took on when, early in July, I accepted an invitation to join the interim advisory group for Social Media Club, I put my hand up to join Michael Brito and Aaron Strout as a group to look at membership issues – defined at the time as membership roles and responsibilities.

Which is the background to Michael’s post, How Des, Michael and Aaron Spent Labor Day Weekend: Brainstorming SMC Membership.

The three areas we identified to look at in this process were:

  1. How do we increase new membership of Social Media Club?
  2. How do we increase engagement and generate excitement for existing members?
  3. How do we localize SMC chapters on areas with few members and a lot of miles in between?

Item 3 was the one I wanted to work on. Let’s face it, as someone who lives, relative to most Social Media Club members, in a far off land, so far in fact that other folks on this planet refer to it as “down under”, it was no doubt fairly predictable that I would want to have something to say about international membership.

world map showing south on top
World Map with South “up over”: Author CaseyPenk, Vardion, via Wikimedia Commons

And even for many people in a country fairly brimming with Social Media Clubs, i.e. the USA, but not living in or near Austin, Texas, or New York New York, or other cities boasting a Social Media Club, I felt I had a perspective to offer, given that for me the closest Social Media Club, in the city of Brisbane (and so far the only one in this part of the world), is one and a half hours drive from where I live.

As you’ll be able to infer from our report as blogged by Michael, I believe that before we can provide pratical answers to the third question above, we need to resolve a more fundamental question. That question is: just  what do we mean by membership of Social Media Club?

And as with the map above, If we change our perspective, we might see new opportunities.

Is Social Media Club membership to be structured so as to only make sense for those people who live near a center which has a SMC (or the potential, in practice, to establish one) which meets on a regular basis in a physical space? And even if that concept allows for people who are only able to participate from time to time, say by virtue of travel to such centers, is there, practically speaking, scope for someone in more outlying areas and who may not travel to such centers, to be a bona fide, participating, contributing member of the Social Media Club network?

In other words, virtual members.

Or should the current – as I see it – fundamentally analog construction of Social Media Club membership be the only (practical) option. That would seem, on the face of it, counter-intuitive for a bunch of people who in many other areas of their business and social lives seem ok – even passionate – about being part of communities which are, for all practical purposes, virtual.

Or am I missing something really obvious?

If you have ideas or questions about this topic, please leave a comment on Michael’s post, or here. All suggestions welcome.

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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  1. I think the SMC, coming as it did out of a single location with a bunch of like-minded folks, has brought with it a lot of geographical-based thinking. Even in the US, where social media is growing and maturing, many people do not use online collaboration tools. Blogs only go part way.
    For those of us who have worked on international projects while being based here in Australia, online collaboration is “normal”. Now we just have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
    PS … what are you doing about other cities in Australia?

  2. Thanks for those thoughts, Gavin. I love the idea of us having to wait for the rest of the world to catch up!

    I haven’t promoted the idea of SMC chapters in other cities. Brisbane was just easier (relatively) for me. If you are interested in starting a chapter I would be happy to discuss. Let me know.

  3. I am not going to comment the article which is great as usual. I just want to say that I am very happy that I know you …

  4. I agree with Gavin on the part of online collaboration considering as normal.
    I still need to read a bit up and understand all the purposes/goals of SMC, but I don’t see why it cannot be? Sure there can be some extra operational obstacles to overcome.

    For Social Media powered by Social Media – learning Social Media through Social Media?

  5. Thanks George 🙂

    Gianluigi: Yes, of course it can be, because there is already online collaboration. In fact, this whole conversation is running on online collaboration – I have not met Michael or Aaron face to face, nor have I met most of the members of the advisory group. I think the operative saying is – “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. Thank you for your comment.

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