A few months back, I wrote how I was thinking about not renewing my ACM membership because I couldn’t see any future benefit. Monday, I received an email from ACM asking me if I was going to renew. I wrote them the following:
I’m a long time member, going back to when I was in college in the 1970s. But since then, I’ve moved out of the research area. I don’t go to conferences that are under ACM sponsorship (the one conference I’m involved in is under private sponsorship, with IEEE doing the proceedings). I don’t read CACM, and can get access to the ACM Digital Library through the subscription at work, if I need it. I don’t need the @acm.org address as I run my own domain. I can still attend local chapter meetings, and am still a member of the LA Chapter.
So I’m trying to figure out the benefit of renewing. So far, much as I like ACM, I can’t see a discernable, tangible, benefit. I’ve begun to wonder if the technical society model is becoming passe — you certainly don’t need it to get technical information or meet people in your field as you did in the 1960s through 1980s.
So, convince me. Show me a benefit that I actually use on a regular basis. I’ve been racking my brain, but right now, I can’t think of one.
So, how did ACM respond? Like they didn’t want my membership. Seriously. The response was effectively canned:
Thank you for contacting ACM. My name is Nanette and I will be happy to assist you today.
The benefits of ACM many are many and can be found at the URL below: http://www.acm.org/membership/benefits
Please read through them so you can decide whether you’d like to renew or not. Either way please let me know so that I may mark your membership record accordingly.
If you have further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a wonderful day!
You know, I had hoped ACM would respond with something a bit more personal, a bit more convincing. Certainly they would have back in my day, back in the days when I was active in the SIGs and Local Chapters (I was chair of both SIGSAC and the Los Angeles Chapter). But I think they want research folk now, not the actual practitioners. Perhaps I should ask Pierangela: after all, she’s Vice-Chair of SIGSAC, and on the ACSAC conference committee. Still, given their membership fees, I’ll be glad to use the money elsewhere.