CO ISOC seeks to harness the great resources of this region in order to perpetuate the open evolution of the Internet for the advancement of human knowledge and communication, here in Colorado and around the world.
As most who know me already know, I co-founded the Colorado Chapter of the Internet Society back at the end of 2007. We had our first meeting in March of 2008. Since then I have been slowly growing the membership and trying to keep folks engaged.
I first tried a few different approaches, including a newsletter, a Google apps account, a mailing list, and a few other fairly unsuccessful approaches to getting the member base excited.
More recently – and more successfully, I started a facebook group and an even more flexible (and popular) facebook page, a twitter account and a LinkedIn group. I also incorporated CO ISOC as a non-profit corporation.
The net result has been some great conversations, a current total of over 140 members and, unfortunately, not too much more.
Simultaneous to my efforts here in Colorado, the global ISOC has been growing and shifting more attention to chapters. The new Association Management System (AMS) has been a great step forward, along with their many other efforts.
While the Colorado chapter itself may never have been “juvenated” enough to be rejuvenated now, I surely have been. First let me stop and thank Sally Wentworth, Anne Lord, Connie Kendig, and everyone else who planned and participated in the workshop on Friday!
That leads me to today and what’s next for CO ISOC.
Part of what I gained from this experience is a re-affirmation of just how important the ISOC chapters are – to ISOC and to the Internet as a whole. The other, larger part is a suite of tools that I now have at my fingertips for use in developing our Colorado chapter into an organization that can make a substantial difference and add real value – both to our members and to the entire global Internet ecosystem.
OK – so what now?
First, I sent an email to every current member of CO ISOC asking them to send an email to 10 friends. I provided a template for them to work from for this message which is intended to enlist additional members. Growing our membership helps in two ways: One, the more members we have, the more we can do as an organization. Two, telling people about CO ISOC is also telling them about ISOC and one of our primary goals is to spread awareness of ISOC!
Second, I created a CO ISOC MeetUp group to organize regular face to face meetings. To get things started, I set up two recurring “brainstorming breakfasts;” one in the Denver Tech Center and one in Downtown Denver. Once I get some other members interested, I plan to also schedule a monthly brainstorming breakfast in Boulder and one in Colorado Springs. Beyond this I hope to also mix in an occasional happy hour and possibly some other events that members come up with.
Third, I am beginning to seek a good conference call solution to host a monthly conference call. I plan for this call to be a bit more formal than the brainstorming breakfasts and happy hours, with a set agenda and specific topics to be discussed and issues to be raised and hopefully settled.
Fourth, I am going to continue to reach out to members and ask for their (your) help. I want to get a few more chapter officers on board. I want to try and get a Denver INET planned, hopefully for this year! I also want to launch some chapter projects, such as sending speakers to the local colleges to talk about ISOC, the Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program, and other pertinent Internet topics.
How YOU can help
The most important thing that I finally allowed to sink in over the past few months and the past week in particular, is that I can not do this alone. I need your help!
The most important thing you can do right now, in less than 10 minutes, is become a CO ISOC member! Instructions for how to join can be found on our website: http://www.coisoc.org/index.php/join/
Once you have joined (or if you are already a member), please let me know that you are interested in helping! There is plenty of work to go around. To start with, I need help finding a free or very cheap conference call solution – or even better, an organization who will sponsor us by donating time on their conference call solution – we only need an hour or two a month, and probably no more than 100 callers for now.
Another easy thing to do is join the MeetUp group and start attending the meet-ups!
Other things that we need right now: Articles written for our blog. Help filing for 501c3 status. Help administrating the web site. Help spreading the word and recruiting members. Help identifying other Colorado organizations to reach out to. Help finding contacts at all Colorado Colleges and Universities to arrange for CO ISOC speakers. Speakers. Subject matter experts. Etc…
Also – if you are interested in a longer term commitment, we are going to need some chapter officers – Seceratary, Treasurer, Vice-Chair, Chair, committee and project leaders, etc. The great thing about joining and getting active in an organization as new as ours is that you can take as much control and responsibility as you want!
How we can help you
For one thing, CO ISOC is a great group of Internet enthusiasts from all industries and all walks of life – in other words, it is a great networking opportunity. Meet other folks who are passionate about the Internet and make new friends and connections! I can tell you from experience that it is 100% better to know the person across the table before the interview, sales pitch, etc than to meet them for the first time that day.
Another facet of professional networking comes from the fact that CO ISOC will be THE place to discuss Internet issues, both local and international. When a group of experts and passionate newbs get together to discuss these things in depth, it is very likely that new problems, solutions and ideas will bubble up. Some of these may create opportunities for new products, new companies and new paradigms. Get in on the ground floor by being there when that happens!
As CO ISOC gains visibility and credibility, we will become THE resource for Internet information in our region. Being a member of such an influential group will inevitably lend visibility and credibility to you and your organization as well. Be a CO ISOC subject matter expert for local media, policy debates, trials, and other influential forums both in and outside of Colorado!
In the long run, the sky is the limit and as with everything else, you will likely get results directly proportional to your efforts.