Monday, August 3, 2009

Are Professional Organizations Old School?

In my professional life, I have been a member of several organizations. Some of these have been very rewarding, and some very questionable. In recent interactions, many young professionals are telling me they get what they need from online sources. They are skipping the traditional lunch and happy hour circuit for online networking sources like LinkedIn and Facebook. There's no question that it's more economical, both time and cost-wise, to invest in online groups - but is this pocket of professionals missing something?
I am not picking on recent grads, by the way, I have known many professionals who preferred not to join organizations and had long and successful careers.
So there's the question - Are the non-joiners missing out, or are they really the enlightened crowd?

Photo gracias: Flickr user Binkixxx.
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Kristen_TulsaAPR said...

Interesting! I'm still a big proponent of professional organizations. Not all have been valuable to me, but without a doubt some of the best contacts and professional relationships I have made in my career came through these memberships. I think the challenge is for professional groups to find the right balance between attracting younger members and maintaining interest from more seasoned pros. Some do a great job, but others seriously lack the ability to manage the professional development opportunities for each group.

Linda@thesaltlick said...

I definitely think that belonging to a professional brings value in many areas: F2F networking, keeping tabs on trends in your chosen avocation, ability to share ideas and career experiences, and opportunities to learn new skills.

Belonging to a professional organization also says something about you as a person (as viewed on a resume). As someone who has hired lots of interns, I tended to be drawn to those who were members of a student organization. I felt that these folks were more likely to make contributions, both in the communications/PR field and in the community.

So, my short answer is, no, professional organizations still serve a valuable purpose.

Craig said...

Professional organizations are old school, but there is nothing wrong in that. The most meaningingful communication will always be face-to-face and the online versions of this just are not the same. However, both can play major roles.

Mary said...

My participation in professional organizatons has benefitted me and the organizations I have served over the past 15 years without a doubt. Old School makes me think of really good shoes. Like a pair of Bass Weejuns, an iconic classic shoe. Weejuns last the test of time and live on past other shoes.

I think social networking is here to stay, but professional organizations still have benefit and purpose. Professional organizations, in my opinion, are the classic mainstay for professional growth. My participation has allowed me to measure industry standards and consult with the best and brightest. I love social networking, but I will continue to participate in professional organizations for growth and professioanl development. If the shoe fits......