One thing we talk about a lot at the AVMA, and in many different contexts, is the need to build and nurture our member community. It’s a priority that I’ve heard from Executive Board members, committees and councils, members who take part in surveys, and staff members.
This is an area where our website – and other electronic communications media – can and should add a lot of value. We want to see more and more members talking with each other and with us, both on our website and on external social networks. So this is an area where we’re putting in a lot of effort as we rebuild the AVMA website.
How many of you know about our NOAH discussion boards? Actually, judging from the member survey we did when we started looking at rebuilding our website, I can tell you: about 35% of all survey respondents did not even know about this valuable resource. If you’re in that 35%, I encourage you to take a look at the discussion forum. There are a lot of conversations going on between and among members, on topics ranging from clinical treatment questions to AVMA policy matters.
But this isn’t intended as a plug for NOAH. In fact, there are some things that we can’t do on NOAH right now, but want to do in the future. We’re actually planning to make this discussion forum a whole lot better when we relaunch our website. What constitutes better? Well, for starters, you’ll be able to:
- Follow (or provide) a direct link to a specific discussion thread, instead of entering through the main page and having to sort through all topics.
- Sign up to “follow” a discussion (or as many as you’d like) and be notified of new posts to that discussion.
Dr. Kimberly May, one of the assistant directors in the AVMA Communications Division, is working closely with the current NOAH community to define what they want these discussion forums to be and help us build the right platform. She’s created a discussion thread called “NOAH/AVMA website update” within the General/Roundtable discussion forum, where she’s planning to post periodic updates.
We’re also working to provide more tools to help our members work together as a community once we launch the new website. These include:
- More opportunities to comment on current and proposed AVMA policies and strategic goals. (Wonder what you can comment on currently? We conduct a year-round Critical issues Scan for strategic planning, and also ask for member input on Animal Welfare policies when they’re up for review.)
- Better/easier sharing of AVMA content through external social networks such as Facebook.
- More integration between this AVMA@Work blog and the rest of the website, to encourage more members to engage with us and each other on AVMA@Work.
Are there any additional community-related activities you’d like us to think about? Please let us know in the comments section.