Cindy relates the tale of an association that found something from their meeting on YouTube that they really, really didn't want to be out there for the world to see. This is exactly the thing I talked about in this editorial from Association Meeting's April issue (what? You didn't read it? Gee, and I thought everyone read my stuff ;0).
Cindy asks: "Should associations make decisions about our events, functions and meetings in the future realizing anything that happens could be minutes away from YouTube?" I say of course they should. That horse has left the barn, sorry folks. Not to quote myself (but I will):
- Are we ushering in a new era in which no one can say anything in a public forum without the expectation that it'll show up on YouTube 10 minutes later? Would that result in education that, to avoid any possibility of offense, hits the lowest common denominator? Would people not feel free to be critical of the status quo, knowing their words could be taken out of context and/or blown out of proportion in an online forum? We talk about wanting greater transparency, but have we really thought through what that might mean for our meetings?
But think it through we must, because like it or not, it's our new reality. The hardest part, especially for us older folks, is giving up the illusion of control. And it is an illusion, because whether we condone it or not, attendees already are blogging, Twittering, and otherwise letting their feelings about the meeting be known far and wide. Burying our heads in the sand or trying to beat the trend into submission with draconian rules will do nothing but alienate tomorrow's attendees.
Instead, let's talk about how we can reconcile transparency with what needs to remain private — and find the wisdom to know the difference between the two.