2011 High-Tech Society Award Nominees!

epiphyte78(9)May 1, 2011

Each year I think we should give an award to the society that most effectively utilizes technology to help facilitate their mission. Doing so will help other societies become more aware of what internet based resources are available to them.

The following is a list of societies that I would like to nominate for the award. If you know of any other tech-savvy societies please nominate them and describe their use of technology.


There are still some societies that remove members from their e-mail distribution list if they haven't paid their dues! Yikes! Here are a couple societies that make it easy for anybody to join their e-mail distribution lists...

South Bay Orchid Society

Sacramento Orchid Society


MagCloud is a website owned by Hewlett Packard that allows people to publish their magazines for free. The Orange County Orchid Society is the first society to take advantage of this resource. Each month a photo of the Judge's Choice Award winner is used for the cover of their newsletter. For the cost of postage, the editor of the magazine receives one proof copy which she presents to the award recipient at the following month's meeting.

Orange County Orchid Society

RSS feeds

RSS feeds allow people to subscribe to websites. On one central webpage (feed reader) people can see relevant new content from their favorite websites. Orchid societies can easily create an RSS feed by starting a group on flickr for their orchid society. People can then RSS subscribe to the feed for the group's discussion section.

Discussion Section for Orchid Society of Southern California


Not sure which society was the first to create a page on facebook but the most "liked" (258) society on facebook is by far the New Hampshire Orchid Society...

New Hampshire Orchid Society

Once a society receives enough "likes" they can customize and simplify their URL. For example... http://www.facebook.com/TriangleOrchidSociety


With 58 members and 1,225 photos, the Orchid Society of Southern California by far has the greatest presence on flickr...

OSSC on Flickr

Flickr API

Taking advantage of the Flickr API allows societies to display dynamic photo galleries on their website...

OSSC Photo Gallery


Badges/Widgets allow content from one website to be displayed on another website...aka syndication. This is generally a mutually beneficial arrangement because the "borrowing" website receives relevant content and the "loaning" website receives links/traffic from the website that is borrowing its content.

For example, here you can see that the Orchid Society of Santa Barbara has a badge that dynamically displays the OSSC flickr discussion section...

Orchid Society of Santa Barbara


The St Augustine Orchid Society most likely has the most videos on YouTube...

Keiki Club for Orchid Beginners

March 5, 2011 Ace Repotting Clinic

St Augustine Orchid Society Meetings

Google Ads

Google Ads can provide an additional source of revenue for an orchid society...

Southern Ontario Orchid Society

Affiliate of Amazon

Affiliating with Amazon can also provide an additional source of revenue for an orchid society. Before I purchase any product on Amazon, I first click on the Amazon link displayed on the OSSC website. That way the OSSC receives a portion of the revenue.

Orchid Society of Southern California


Paypal is a very convenient way to make payments online. I believe the Sacramento Orchid Society was the first society to setup a paypal account...

Join the Sacramento Orchid Society

Two other societies that allow you to pay your dues via paypal are the...

San Diego County Orchid Society and the

Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free and very helpful way for society webmasters to keep track of where visitors to the society website are coming from. This information can easily be shared with the person in charge of publicity. For example, if you click on the above links to the society websites...if those websites utilize Google Analytics...this forum will be listed as a referrer.

Google Analytics Report for the OSSC

Google Library

The OSSC is the first society to add their library to Google Library. This allows people to search the contents of the OSSC library via Google.

OSSC Library via Google

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California societies get a disproportionate number of mentions. I'm sure other major areas follow similar practices. It's all good, an open door policy will help keep the membership roster healthy.

What for me is a bigger factor is the splintering and fragmenting of a population pool. San Diego has one major orchid society with 800 members of which I'm told around 4 to 500 are active. LA which is much bigger has easily a dozen societies which are all competing for members and funds to conduct their business. In my area there are 4 groups that meet within 20 miles of each other. I think consolidation would lead to stronger, more robust societies whose functions would be better funded.

We have a limited number of local speakers all of whom we have heard too often. To fly someone in from the East or even Australia is prohibitively expensive for most of us. 5 societies meet during the 3rd week of the month, I have had some success networking to try to share travel expense but it only works out on rare occasions. All the stars have to be perfectly aligned to make something like that work.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 7:59PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Golly, 400 to 500 active members. Yuk! Just too big! At the other end of the scale the minimum might be say 30 members, any less and its good night Irene.

No High-Tech award for the local orchid society, half the monthly bulletins are still sent out using snail mail. Guess we get the Barney Rubble award.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 5:07AM
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Arthur, I guess there's nothing wrong with the Barney Rubble award if your members live in Bedrock. My OS produces their newsletter as a snail mailed, B&W hardcopy and as a full colour pdf emailed out ~2 weeks before the printed copy arrives and at a reduced membership cost. After 5 years of producing an e-newsletter, 40% of the members still opt to receive the snail mail newsletter rather than the e-newsletter.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Arthur, it's a 2 sided coin. The strength of a large group allows them to do things that we would like to imitate but cannot. They offer 2 programs each evening, one for beginners and one for the more advanced growers. When we have a speaker talking about Draculas, Masdies and Pleuros, I gringe as I know that 90% of our members cannot grow these things. Other than general interest, a talk like that has no practical value. The raffle plants carted home by people have a low survival rate.

The San Diego society has a subgroup of species enthusiasts who meet separately. As many as 30 experienced species growers create a stimulating experience. San Diego has the only huge group I am aware off, I suspect most other metropolitan areas follow the LA pattern of several smaller groups. When the large society puts on a show it's a thing of beauty, our shows are nice but amateurish in comparison.

I like our intimate medium sized society but I also see the benefits of a strong group. I guess you cannot have both. In my immediate area, 4 societies are spending 4 speaker fees every month. If that could be combined we could afford to go beyond the local talent and import notables from further away. If we could cooperate to the extent were we would rearrange our meetings to be back to back, that would also help but even that is not possible. Each group's specific night is set in granite as they have met that particular evening for 30 years.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 10:46AM
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Nick, there are a lot of California societies listed...which isn't too unusual given that I'm from California. What's strange though is that even though I've posted this list on all the other major orchid forums...nobody has nominated any other societies for the award!

Regarding speakers...for a while now I've been pushing to get all the SoCal orchid society members on the same (web)page...SoCal Orchid Growers on flickr and/or SoCal Orchid Growers on facebook.

If we were all on the same webpage...and you posted on that webpage that a "notable" was going to speak at your society...how far would people be willing to drive in order to attend the presentation? How much would people be willing to pay...or "chip in"...in order to attend the presentation?

In Burbank next week, Marni Turkel will be giving a presentation on miniature orchids. She's posted a nice list of miniature orchids that people can preorder. I posted the link to her pre-order list on flickr and facebook...but since we're not all on the same webpage...how many local orchid hobbyists are going to miss out on purchasing some orchids they might have otherwise purchased?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 8:14PM
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Occasionally we get members from other societies attend meetings to heart a speaker. The real advantage is if 2 societies meeting back to back can share the travel expense. Marnie spoke to San Gabriel on a Thursday and to us on the Friday. We were able to split the airfare. It becomes a mini universe as only societies meeting during the same week can participate. 5 meet during our, the third week. We are trying to get Brian from Down Under to come for a week but so far have not been able to coordinate.

I need to increase the number of societies meeting in my immediate area to 5 as one of the 4 I mentioned earlier has split. UNBELIEVABLE!!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 1:38AM
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