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Know Your AFCEA Benefits: Members-Only Forum

July 16, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections
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Bulletin boards may seem like an old-fashioned means of finding answers in today’s world of Google, easy e-collaboration and social media, but they are still one of the best ways to connect with professionals who work in the same field. Through the Members-Only Forum, AFCEA offers its members a way to reach out to one another to find answers, share solutions or even just announce company or chapter news.

Available through the AFCEA portal, the Members-Only Forum features eight categories: general discussions, chapter officers, career services, classifieds, news and announcements, press releases, technology, and education and professional development. Members are encouraged to create topics within the categories and can bookmark topics as well as email messages to friends.

The chapter officer forum can facilitate information and idea sharing about increasing membership, raising scholarship funds and boosting attendance at meetings. Oftentimes, chapters located near each other can suggest speakers for meetings or chapter events.

Although it’s not craigslist or eBay, the classifieds section enables members to buy, sell or trade products and services. Deals can be struck for personal or professional items.

In the career services forum, members are encouraged to post both job openings and employment requests. This category allows AFCEANs to reach out to IT professional talent worldwide with the knowledge that responders are AFCEA members and aware of the value of association membership.

The technology forum is divided into hardware, software and Web 2.0 subcategories. Examples of discussion topics in the hardware subcategory include servers, PCs, radios, networking equipment and hardware engineering. Software discussion topics range from operating systems to programming tools. The Web 2.0 section focuses on the latest in social media.

In addition to posting messages, users can create survey questions with answer options. For example, one post describes the AFCEA Online Directories then asks forum participants to evaluate their usefulness.

Participation in the Members-Only Forum is encouraged as its value increases with each new member who adds a question, offers a solution, posts a job opportunity or makes suggestions about how to improve the association or chapters.