Sheila B. Robinson on Connecting with AEA: Our Home, Our Tribe

Hello! I’m Sheila B. Robinson, aea365 Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. A short time ago, Nicole Vicinanza, a member of the AEA board, challenged aea365 readers to comment on this post and share whether they consider AEA their “professional home” and how they connect with AEA.

As there was a gift certificate at stake for one lucky winner, we had quite a bit of participation: 44 commenters contributed their thoughts. A brief content analysis of comments revealed the following:

Lessons Learned: 

  • 36 of our commenters consider AEA their professional home, or one of several professional homes. Some said the organization is becoming more and more like a professional home, while others referred to it as their “cottage” or “vacation home.”
  • A large majority (32) said that they connect through aea365. No surprises here! (Kudos to all the contributors and curators who make this happen 365 days a year!)
  • 18 commenters noted that they connect through the annual conference.
  • 12 listed Coffee Break Webinars.
  • 11 mentioned connecting through TIGs or serving as TIG leaders.
  • Many mentioned connecting through social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Still others mentioned using the website, reading the newsletters, taking eStudy courses, and taking advantage of resources in the public eLibrary.
©2006 SheilaBRobinson

Lesson Learned: Our commenters mentioned in sum over a dozen ways they connect with AEA. Author/marketer/entrepreneur Seth Godin claims we’re living in a “connection economy”  that “rewards the leader, the initiator, and the rebel” and where “connections are changing the world.” We’re connected by membership in “tribes.”

“You don’t build a tribe about the thing you want to sell” claims Godin. You don’t even build a tribe about the thing you want to accomplish. You build it around the community and experience that the tribe members already want to have.”

Godin even published a book on the topic, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, in which he claims “Human beings can’t help it. We need to belong. One of the most powerful survival mechanisms is to be a part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.”

AEA is my professional home and its members, my tribe. I will continue to connect with my tribe in 2014 in almost all of the dozen ways mentioned. Will you?

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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