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Interested in Starting a User Group?
Organizing a user group is a fantastic way to meet and learn from other MongoDB fans in your local community. Interested in starting up a user group in your city? Get in touch with our community team
Setting Up Your User Group
Use Meetup.com: Meetup has a lot of great tools for event organizers, and make it easy for users to discover relevant groups. Make sure to tag your group and include a description with keywords so that your group appears in meetup searches. 10gen has a Meetup.com platform for all MUG organizers to ensure organizers can focus on making their groups vibrant, educational communities.
Use Google Groups: Google Groups is a great platform to keep in touch. The one drawback is that Google Groups doesn't have the same type of discovery as Meetup.com, but is a good option for keeping in touch with your co-organizers.
Making Your Group Successful
Consistency is important: It's important to establish a routine early on. If you consistently meet on the second Tuesday of every month, your meetup will become routine. The first few meetings of any user group will be small, but at every meetup, new members will join your group, so it is important to meet on a monthly basis. Having the meetings scheduled far in advanced makes it easier to sign on future speakers. It's much easier to ask a speaker "Can you present on May 19?" than going back and forth coordinating dates.
Cross promote: Consider partnering with other technology meetups when your group first gets started. This is a great way for communities to learn from one another and gain exposure to new technologies. It could be as simple as ocassionally posting on other meetup lists. You can also list your events in Startup Digest, Mashable, and more.
Get great speakers: Make a wish list of speakers, and then just start asking people! After organizing dozens of MongoDB events, I've been amazed at how willing people are to present. Most of the time, it's just a matter of asking. And if the person says no, ask them to refer someone else. Are the speakers on your wish list 3,000 miles away from you? That's okay. We live in a wired world. Use Skype or WebX to bring your speakers to you. You can do screen shares to see demos, and provide your meetup members with a great learning experience.
Host Lightning Talks: Sometimes your user group members will not have the chance to pull together a full 30 minute presentation on a product or feature, but some of them may be interested in giving a 5-10 minute lightning talk on something they've designed, an issue they're having with MongoDB, or their dream project. Offer the opportunity when you send out the Meetup invite. If you don't get any submissions, don't worry. Deliver the first lightning talk at the event. Someone might step up to the plate.
Working with Speakers
Create a Speaker Checklist to get the full details about your speakers before putting it on the event page
Speaker bio and small photo.
Company "about us" and small logo.
Title of Talk.
Abstract of Talk.
Social Media / Corp homepage / etc... links.
Phone numbers (to coordinate the day of the event)
Grow Your Group
Experiment with new events for your user group. Here are some ideas that have worked for other groups in the past:
Start a Study Group: If your meetup has a lot of inexperienced MongoDB Users, consider starting a study group and learn together. Learning in a group is a great experience, and study groups are very common in different developer communities.
Host an Unconference: An "unconference" is an attendee-driven meeting where people can have greater control over the format topics of discussions. You can host a MongoDB DevOps Unconference, and have participants propose talks on performance, monitoring and test driven development.
Host a Helpathon: The NYC On Rails Meetup is famous for innovating on the Hackathon to produce the Helpathon, a four hour session for helping one another get through programming hurdles.
Start a Book Club: This is similar to a study group and can be a great way to create a more tightly knit User Group for the future.
Raffle off prizes: Prizes are an excellent way to get people to come to your meetup. An easy and free way to get great prizes is to join the O'Reilly User Group program. O'Reilly User Group Members send groups free books to distribute to your group, as well as discounts on upcoming conferences.
Host a Coding Contest: Present a small problem to your members and ask them to bring their files the day of to show off their solution. You can then have judges or the audience choose the winning solution(s).
Social media: Consider creating a twitter handle or hashtag for the group. Ask the presenter to tweet or blog about the event, and ask the key members of the group to do the same. Post the hashtag or twitter handle at the event so that members know to use it.
Continue the discussion after the meetup: You can easily record videos and take photos at sessions to share information after the meetup. Encourage the presenter to send a message the group with the slides to start a conversation among the entire meetup.
Send out Group Polls: Get a better understanding of what your user group wants to hear by sending out polls. If you use Meetup.com, you can try out the Polls feature. Otherwise, use SurveyMonkey.