There’s a phrase that should make you cringe. “Well it’s only semantics.” Words are powerful if used correctly and different words can have very different meanings. That came to mind on seeing an entry in Threadwatch.Org entitled “SMA-UK get’s a Kickin’ in the Forums”. SMA-UK stands for Search Marketing Association – UK. There was very pointed criticism of the speed at which the Association was moving. It was said to be comparable with the lack of progress that has been seen in the ill-fated SEMPO. For those not in the know, SEMPO stands for Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.
For those who lose words loosely, perhaps Association and Organization seem interchangeable. For others there can be a world of difference. Particularly for a Professional Organization, the standards must be high. It is a precisely defined body with a certain constitution and not everyone will be able to join. It therefore can often be an exclusive type of grouping. An Association means a group of individuals who are associating. By its nature it is an inclusive kind of body. There are very many fewer barriers to membership.
Whereas you may have justifiable grounds for criticizing something that calls itself an Organization, it’s tougher to criticize an Association. Inherently it should be more fluid and organic as it comes together. So if you don’t like what it’s doing, then you have two choices. Get involved and help to make it better: or you can ignore it.