Setting Up a User Group In Your Area

Tips and tricks for setting up a user group in your area.

If you think there are a lot of Plonistas in your area but there is no existing meetup group, set up your own! Here are some tips and tricks to setting up a local user group in your area:

  • Make sure you have a co-organizer. Everyone gets busy now and then and you can't run everything all the time. Many user groups have perished because of sickness or relocation - a co-organizer is good insurance against these things.
  • Find a location for your group to meetup that you can rely on. Don't forget to ask for space from local Plone companies, cafes and coworking spaces, or even your local library.
  • Don't feel obliged to give talks every time you meetup. Spice it up. Consider hitting the pub after or in leu of a talk, doing a mini-sprint, hosting an install fest for newbies, or talking about non-Plone based technology that just makes life easier. Some meetups rotate through all of these things to try to appeal to the maximum number of people.
  • If you do give talks, make sure it's not the same people every time. Again, variety is key. Think about alternating long talks with lightning talks, or even host a debate about a certain piece of technology.
  • Incorporate and invite local Pythonistas to attend your events, and attend theirs as well. Many groups have reported better turnout from combining the two, such as ZPUG/DC.
  • If other Plone speakers are in town, invite them to join your next meetup.
  • Don't forget to create a web presence. This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. A minimalist approach is to setup on, Google Groups, or even just get a mailing list going. Many groups buy domains and set up their own Plone sites to play with. The web is your playground and time is your only limiting factor.
  • Sign up for the user groups mailing list where you can coordinate with other user group leaders as well as ask for advice and recommendations.
  • Make sure you are listed on the local user groups page. If yours isn't listed, add a comment and someone will update it asap.
  • Set up discount programs for books through Packt, O'Reilly and Peachpit. Not only can you get deep discounts, but you can also get access to free books if you provide reviews.

Of course the most important thing is to listen to your user group members. They will let you know what they enjoyed so keep your eyes and ears open.