Every so often I get asked what is it like to run a user group. The answer is a lot of hard work and there can be a lot of time commitments as well.
After running the Ottawa Windows Server User Group (www.OWSUG.ca) for a few years now I am a STRONG believer that you don’t need to have one user group for every discipline or topic. I believe that each discipline or topic should become a Special Interest Group (SIG) of one larger user group.
In Ottawa there are several user groups that I know about. (listed in no particular order) and a lot more that I don’t know about!
Ottawa Windows Server User Group
Ottawa .NET Community
Ottawa PC User Group
Active Directory User Group
Ottawa Oracle User Group
XML of Ottawa User Group
Ottawa Carleton Smalltalk Users Group
Ottawa-Gatineau WebSphere User Group
Ottawa Novell User Group
Bytown Mac User Group
Canadian Information Processing Society of Ottawa
Capital Computer Human Interaction
Ottawa Java User Group
Women in Technology (Ottawa)
If most of these user groups were SIG of a larger user group or at least have associations with all the other user groups then could reach a wider audience.
So if you are thinking about starting a user group, consider becoming a SIG of another group.
Think about the benefits of becoming a SIG:
- Have an existing Web presence
- Have an existing Membership list
- You can use the existing UG leadership to help you out
- You can leverage any local partnerships that they have
- They will most likely have access to a location for presentations
- They will most likely have access to local MS or other vendor staff, who might be able to help out
- They can help you understand how much pizza & pop to order
So the point of all of this is, look for an existing user group before starting your own.
Need help finding a user group try out this link!