Bylaws Amendments

We’re in a comment/collection period for amendments to the AAUW bylaws for vote at the 2011 annual meeting (and in paper/electronic ballots from those who can’t attend the meeting).

It’s kind of a clunky application* but you can

  • find all the submitted amendments
  • read comments on those submissions
  • make your own comments or amendments
  • sign up to be notified by e-mail if additional amendments/comments are posted for a particular section

Thanks to the bylaws committee for their work (most of the changes are ones they proposed).

Start at the One Member/One Vote section of and click the Bylaws Amendments to get to the application.

*I’d expect at least a “filter to show only sections with amendments/comments” and “show all” links

Facebook live feed/news feed

I’m starting to think about a workshop on Facebook that I’ll be doing at a couple of AAUW state conventions next spring. I may start using this space to write up notes and  test ideas. If you’d like to be more involved in the workshop development, or would like to have me attend your state convention, let me know.

Facebook crossed the 300 million users threshold last month — and it continues to be a grand experiment. Somewhere there’s a group that’s figuring out how that very large population can best communicate with each other, while maintaining the Facebook principles of simple, streamlined user interface and a focus on messages from one person to another (as opposed to messages from groups/organizations to people). As things change without warning, this can be disconcerting. Following the Facebook blog can help, but we are still pretty much powerless to effect change in the Facebook juggernaut. I find it best to just “go with the flow” and tweak around the edges when my motivations for using Facebook don’t mesh completely with the Facebook view of the world.

Anyway, Facebook’s recent change to the “home page” allows users some control over what they as they first bring up Facebook:

  • The default “news feed” shows some collection of items that Facebook predicts will be “interesting.” Their algorithm is clearly undergoing some changes and has occasional hiccups when it will emphasize something from a week ago even though you’ve checked Facebook regularly since then.
  • With one click you can change the “news feed” to a “live feed” that shows, in most recent first order, all the traffic from your friends — what they posted on their status, notes they wrote on others’  walls, links they posted, pictures they uploaded, friends they made, groups they joined, and more. This is more information than appeared on the old home page, but is closer in spirit than the edited news feed.

Note that both of these view are configurable. Look for an “edit options” down in the lower right. In the news feed options, you can hide friends and fan pages that you don’t want to hear about on a quick check of Facebook. In the live feed you have a “hide” and a “show me more” for both friends and pages. You can also change the 250 default limit on the number of friends who will appear in these feeds. Note that you can still “hide”  friends and pages (and the applications they may use) by clicking the “hide” at the top right of a particular story for the options that pertain to that story. Any users you’d hidden before carry over to the new views.

There’s also an option that some are recommending to configure the home page view by looking at the left hand side and dragging “status updates” to the top of the list, above “News feed”. [You may need to click “more” to see the “status updates”.] This, then, shows status updates from your friends — but doesn’t appear to show their other activities that would appear in the “News feed” or “Live feed”. Therefore choose this carefully.

Another option is to create “friend lists” that will then appear in that right hand menu. Add Jane, Sally, John and Paul to a list called “relatives” and you can then click the “relatives” list to get caught up on all of them. Spend some time thinking about how you group your friends, maybe who you’d expect to see at the same party, put them into groups and then you can click through to see their content in the context of each others remarks. This doesn’t prevent you from “introducing” someone from one area of your life to someone from another area (one of the key benefits of Facebook), but it may cut down on the information overload — especially if you have a “really important” list that you drag to the top of the left hand column so posts about those folks will be what you see when you start Facebook.

So, keep in mind that Facebook is offering a way to “follow” friends and acquaintances that is sometimes hard for our brains to absorb — particularly for those of us who remember when phone calls were expensive and communicating over long distances usually involved paper. Facebook  hasn’t figured it out perfectly, but they’re trying. Take some time to experiment with different options and find one that works for you and the circle of friends and organizations you’ve chosen to follow. And be prepared to change again in a few months.

Twitter tools #aauw09

There are fewer than 1000 members who will be attending the AAUW convention in St. Louis this weekend — but the interest around the country is amazing. So some of us are planning to tweet, blog, post on Facebook, and otherwise get the word out as the convention evolves.

I’ll be traveling with my trusty laptop — this is old faithful’s fourth convention (knock wood). [See posts from 2003, 2005 and 2007.] But because Internet connectivity at convention is limited, I won’t be lugging that with me during the day — no e-mail or web (or Facebook), but I will have twitter.

On twitter we’re using the “hashtag” #aauw09, and folks at home can follow that at

If you want to post a comment or a question from home, some of us will be “listening” for that. You can post general comments to the #aauw09 twitter stream, but you can also send targeted messages (use “D <twittername>”) to reach a particular person. No promises, of course — there will be times when phones are turned off and we’re concentrating on the interactions with the wonderful members we see once every two years. But it may be a way to reach out to convention attendees and add your voice to the conversation.  You may just want to ues e-mail or Facebook to post your comments — some people will be staying in touch all day, and others will pick up those messages over night.

If you’re going to be in St. Louis and will depend on your phone for access, you have lots of options if you’ve entered the age of the “smart” phone. But if, like me, text messaging is the limit of your phone connectivity, how do you follow the #aauw09 conversation from the floor of the convention? Again, you may not want to keep up with all of that — but I’m exploring some options and if you have a suggestion, let me know. If any of my experiments pan out, I’ll let y’all know what I’m using.

How to learn to listen?

We had an interesting dinner at my house last night — did get the required two contacts elected for next year.


Let’s define “hard core member” as “life member or someone who has served on the state or national board in the last 10 years”

At the meeting we had

  • 10 hard core (2 who met both criteria)
  • 2 others

In the branch we have

  • 15 hard core
  • 20 others

So we’re facing not just the challenge that AAUW is so many different things to different people, but also that the group that coalesces to make decisions about the branch may share some underlying assumptions that may not have been articulated to the members who are new or who aren’t active.

Personally, I’m making my bet on the Tar Heel Branch, but there are those who want the community-based branch to succeed. If you have strategies, surveys, or other ways to elicit “what do branch members want” from the silent majority of members, do pass them along.

Let the members decide?

[I really do need to get back to my life, but one more comment before I let this go for a bit.]

This morning I heard that the AAUW CA Convention voted (narrowly) to propose to the AAUW Convention that the decision on the degree requirement be put off until after the implementation of one-member/one-vote.

Now while that may have some appeal, I think it is seriously flawed.

Remember the context of the vote — it is part of the major restructuring that will see AAUW transform from a 501(c)(4) to a 501(c)(3). In that change, we will be dropping some of the trappings of the organization that was founded in 1881 and become much more closely linked with the charitable arm that was founded in 1958.  At the core we are stating that we are to become a public charity.

This is an  important decision with complex ramifications. The decision was discussed at length leading up to the 2007 convention where the members voted unanimously to set this course for the organization.

AAUW’s tradition is that important decisions are made by the delegate body in a face-to-face biennial convention, a meeting with extensive opportunities for questions to be asked and answered. It will take some time before we set up systems of voter education for the many members who view AAUW as primarily a local organization.  We cannot risk derailing the new AAUW before it gets started by pulling out one piece of the change and acting as if it can be decided in isolation from the change to the organization’s purpose and the other related changes.

The delegates in St. Louis must take responsibility for a decision on this change.