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Using meet-up for San Francisco local group meeting blows up attendance

Greg Beuthin, from AF83 has been running San Francisco Drupal local group meetings for the last year. He moved from San Francisco to Paris last month, and long time Drupal user John Faber stepped up to take over Greg's AF83 responsibilities including keeping a vibrant San Francisco Drupal users group going.

In the past the San Francisco local groups have had mixed attendance rates. When the topic was a solid and popular presentation, attendance was pretty good, but if it was just a casual meet-up then attendance has been light. In October, there were just three of us, although it was a few days before BADCamp where almost 300 Drupalers would get plenty of Drupal love.

In November, I was in Boston for the SF Drupal users group. I heard the november SF DUG was a vibrant discussion about Acquia's partnership program. It's great to see people talking about the benefits of our partnership program, and raising their concerns. That kind of dialogue is healthy and a good sign of the diverse opinions and approaches Drupal development shops take towards solving their customers problems.

For the December meeting, John decided to have a lightning round of talks. But what was critical was that he not only used the Drupal Bay-Area group with it's almost 400 members, but he posted the meeting on meet-up. The result was that there were at least 20 new faces, who were coming to their first Drupal user group.

Meet-up isn't the right answer for every local group, but for the Atlanta local group and now the San Francisco local group, it's really helped bring in new vibrant members of the local community who we might not have reached otherwise. If you are a local group ambassador use groups.drupal.org but also consider using Meet-up, Upcoming, Eventful, Craiglist, and local mailing lists to get the word out about Drupal.

Comments

Posted on by Greg Knaddison.

Yeah, I totally agree. We actually have used a bit of a mix of advertising techniques for the Denver meetings to match the right attendees to the right meeting.

If the meeting topic is broadly interesting we will push the announcement to all the major sites you mention and also target our local Linux, PHP, MySQL, business startup, and other similar groups. That way we make sure that when these new folks come both we and they are prepared for the right kind of meeting.

This is key: at the meeting we encourage them to join the g.d.o/denver group. We don't expect everyone to do this, but the interested people will. That reinforces the split: really interested folks will join g.d.o - the fringe will stay informed via the fringe methods.

For the rest of the meetings, we post to g.d.o primarily.

The Boulder meetings are following a strategy of meetup.com a week before the event, g.d.o and planet Drupal posts day-of or day before. They also get a consistently good turn out with this approach.

Posted on by Robert Douglass.

I run the Meetup.com Drupal group. It's great for reaching an audience that isn't already on Drupal.org or Groups.drupal.org. If you run local meetups and want to us the Meetup.com Drupal group as a way to spread the word, send me a message via Meetup.com and I'll help out. http://drupal.meetup.com/13/

Robert Douglass
Senior Drupal Advisor, Acquia