President Elect’s Column: What’s Up for 2017

New year. 2016 being washed away 2017 coming.

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Joanne Broder Sumerson

Joanne Broder Sumerson

Joanne Broder Sumerson, PhD

I am excited and honored to serve as the forthcoming president of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology. I served as the Division’s Membership Chair for almost a decade, so my overall goal as your incoming President is to implement opportunities to help meet various membership needs.  My favorite characteristic of this division is our collective intelligence.  We are an interdisciplinary division and our members share a passion for media-related research and practice.

I will continue the fantastic work of our previous presidents and plan to launch new initiatives that remind us why we became media psychologists: to help and connect with people. The technological world is always moving and advancing to meet peoples’ needs.  The Society for Media Psychology and Technology needs to do exactly just that as well.

Bylaws Changes.  Our bylaws rule and guide us, but are they relevant for 2017?  Rochelle Balter and I are currently seeking suggestions to revise the bylaws.  A Bylaws Committee will be formed to work to evaluate the suggestions to make relevant changes in our bylaws.  Eventually, the changes will be anonymously and confidentially voted on by the Board and then subjected to review and ratification by the full membership.

Subcommittee Reorganization.  Our division has a legacy of incredible leaders who launched successful subcommittees.  As our culture, new topics, and technology evolves, so does the scope of the subcommittees.  The subcommittees will be freshened up to reflect today’s constructs and issues.

Virtual Social Hours.  Data from the Membership Satisfaction Surveys of 2010 and 2014 indicated that members wanted more networking opportunities.  A new member provided anecdotal feedback that our members at our convention Social Hour seemed cliquey.  Ouch, but this was valuable insight.  I explained that if we seemed unfriendly to new members, it might have been because we only get together once a year and were always trying to get in a year’s worth of interaction and catch up.  The good news is that it is 2017 and we do not have to wait once a year to look into each other’s eyes.  Lead by Jonathan Grimes and Eric Peterson, the Virtual Social Hour will be our way to stay connected and in touch, regardless of our budget, traveling capacity, and convention attendance.  There is a general chat room, division membership room, as well as a room with featured speakers and topics.  We hope to learn about your work and provide networking opportunities in a whole other way.  Stay tuned about our Holiday Virtual Social Hour!  Thank you to Alex Spraldin for being our first presenter!

Device Management.  Our tech savvy lifestyles allow us to move forward in the palm of our hands.  In spite of our diversity, our core commonality is our love and passion for the media and technology.  However, there is a dark side to always being connected.  Our division is blessed for Don Grant’s expertise and excitement to chair the Device Management Task Force to collaborate with the APA to help our society achieve balance between staying connected and informed, and yet be able to log off.

Mentoring Other Divisions. We did it first! We are the first division who pioneered the use of technology for intra-division business:  video conferencing, webinars, and Virtual Social Hours.  We evolve as we embrace new technological tools that allow us to conduct our business from alternative routes.  We are learning what we have and how to get through the bumps.  Why not share this with other divisions?  It would be a win/win because other divisions would learn from our expertise and experiences, as well as build community with other divisions and expand our networks.

As you can see, there is a lot of exciting work to be done here. I look forward to working with you in 2017 to get it done.

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