March 2010

Kate Mertes

March 2010

ASI takes on social networking: ASI has long had an unofficial presence on the main social networking sites, particularly LinkedIn. The Board recently decided that it was time for us to make that presence official. While organization-controlled websites remain extremely important, socially-directed networks are growing exponentially as the means of choice for people seeking information about a given topic (and the fastest growing demographic of social networkers is women between 35 and 60, which is also ASI's mean population group). We can't afford to ignore it. So ASI now has an official group on LinkedIn and an official page on Facebook, and you can follow our Tweets via Twitter.

I want to stress that you do not have to use these sites if you're not interested. We'll still be using the website and Keywords as our official organs of communication. But we hope that we'll be able to reach many of those indexers out there who have never even heard of ASI via these increasingly popular media, and provide a service to our members who are involved in social networking.

LinkedIn: This is a service aimed at professionals who wish to network with each other. Users sign up, create a profile, and link to other professionals, clients and colleagues, who are listed at LinkedIn. You can also join groups of networked individuals. There are currently at least four index-dedicated groups on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has over 60 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. Joining is free and has no requirements. Go to to sign up. The official ASI group can be accessed via the "groups" button; it's called "American Society for Indexing (ASI)." Board member Cheryl Landes is co-administrator of the group, with our executive director, Annette Rogers.

Facebook: This extremely popular website bills itself as helping you connect and share with the people in your life. Once again, sign up is free and everyone can join. Over 7 million people use Facebook to keep up with friends, post photos, share links and videos, get information, and meet others. People who sign up get to create their own page, and enlist "friends." Groups with Facebook pages have "fans" who can view the page, post messages, etc. Facebook is less professionally oriented than LinkedIn but is more customizable. Many professional people use their Facebook page in the same way others use a website. Go to to sign up. ASI's official Facebook page is called "American Society for Indexing (ASI)." Board member Charlee Trantino and Annette Rogers are co-administrators of our Facepage.

Twitter: Twitter regards itself as a real-time information network that lets you share and discover what's happening. It originated as a mobile text messaging system limited to 140 characters, but you can Tweet from your computer as well as from a cellphone. You can follow the Tweets of others, post comments on their Tweets, and set up a Twitter trail that others can follow. In order to follow ASI on Twitter you will need an account, which you can easily be set up at The address for our site is Board member Bonnie Hanks and Annette Rogers manage the site.

There are lots of other indexer networks out there. Many of you participate in IndexStudents, IndexCafe, Index-L, and of course ASI-L. Indexer's Network, organized by our most recent Wilson Award winner Jan Wright, is a bright and engaging site with lots of interesting discussion threads. Nancy Humphreys has started a new indexing discussion group called "The Business of Indexing" on, which is dedicated to the business side of indexing.

Whether you lurk or throw yourself in head first, it's worth checking out these sites.

Conference session to include social networking: If you're interested in finding out more about social networking, you should attend the Friday session at the ASI conference entitled "Revitalizing Your Chapter Meetings." Specially intended for SIG and Chapter leaders, but open to all conference attendees, this seminar will address (among other things) the use of virtual media and social networks to invigorate communications at the Chapter and SIG level.

Indexing blog: Besides social networking, indexers also communicate with each other online via blogs. I was alerted to the presence of a particularly interesting index blog back in December, and I now check it out regularly. Sydney Wolfe Cohen won the Wilson award in 1985 for The Expert Speaks, by Cerf and Navasky, and is about to celebrate 50 years as an indexer. Check out Sydney's blog at — you'll find it amusing and thought-provoking.

New conference feature: Recently Fran Lennie and I were talking about the difficulty of ensuring grassroots involvement in what ASI does. The ASI board would benefit form more feedback/input/direct involvement from members. Fran came up with what I think is a brilliant suggestion to help kick-start things. As many of you know, the Board meets on the Wednesday prior to the conference, the day before the pre-conference workshops. A wide cross-section of members who are attending the conference often fly in to town on Wednesday and don't have a lot planned for that afternoon; plus, local chapter members may also be available.

So we'd like to hold a "table talk" session. Anyone who wants to can show up and join their fellow ASI members in small groups to discuss critical issues that the Board can't efficiently handle on its own. At the moment, four issues we're thinking of are:

  • The organization and execution of publicity/marketing efforts;
  • Practical outreach to publishers and book packagers;
  • Executing usability studies; and
  • Presidential term limits.

We know that we're announcing this a bit late in the day and that some of you have already locked in your flight plans. If the Wednesday program goes well and we get a lot of interest we are thinking of extending table topics to a luncheon during the conference. And there is no reason that chapters and SIGs couldn't hold face-to-face or virtual table topic meetings themselves. We're looking for practical suggestions and plan of action, and we're also hoping that discussing these issues will encourage some members to actually volunteer to help put them into play. We'll provide some talking points to help facilitate the discussion and invite you to relay a synopsis to the board at the end of Wednesday afternoon.

While we don't need a firm commitment from you, it would help us to know how many people are planning on coming, and when they might be able to come. So if you think you might be interested, please send an email to me at, stating roughly what time you think you'll be available Wednesday afternoon.

Salary survey now available: Remember, the results for the 2009 salary survey are now available on the ASI website. Sign in to the members' area, choose documents and reports, and then salary survey.

Kate Mertes, President, ASI