Note – The following message is from AAW Board member Stan Wellborn
Looking Toward a “Virtual” AAW?
Chances are that you’re reading this on some kind of computer screen. These days, most of us spend a fair amount of time online, and some of us use “smart” phones and electronic “pads” or “tablets.” You can tell by my use of quote marks that I find these devices a necessary burden of this modern age. My personal interest in so-called social media like Facebook is pretty low, and I can just about guarantee that I will never “tweet” anything or anybody. (Although, I have to confess, I do like my new mobile “smart” phone.)
Eventually, I’m sure we’ll all get most of our information from devices attached to flat screens and keyboards. The AAW is preparing for this future by looking into new ways to deliver information to its members – in formats that they will find useful. This will include a new website that will utilize the best in user-friendly technologies, computerized delivery of American Woodturner, print-on-demand products, webcasts and interactive videos and “apps,” and cyber-services that we can’t even envision yet.
This is a trend that we need to think hard about. I suspect most AAW members will still want to get their information by way of good old ink on paper, or in chapter meetings, or in person-to-person chats with other woodturners at symposiums and craft schools. But if we expect to attract younger members who are used to getting information fast, online, and whenever and wherever they want it, we need to plan accordingly.
None of us are against new technologies. We use them in our shops every day. Personal computers in all their varieties are just the latest advance in communications.
Example: A couple of months ago, a turner I know formulated a mixture for bleaching wood that is relatively safe, easy-to-use, and cheap. He posted the recipe on the chapter website, and I was trying it out the next day. Such a quick and efficient exchange of information would not have been possible a few years ago. All of us could cite other ways we have used internet services, from searching for the best prices on a new tool to posting examples of our work in online galleries.
As we work toward implementing these new communications technologies, the Board and staff of AAW would welcome ideas, comments, and critiques from the ranks of our membership. We know that some of the best ideas will emerge from the folks in the field who know what’s useful and what is not.
So, consider this an open invitation to send your ideas to any or all of us. We want to build new ways of connecting with members but not jettison the tried-and-true services that you have come to expect. Please drop us a line. We’ll read it closely – online.