Drupal Camp | Modules Unraveled

022 David Hahn and Local Drupal User Groups - Modules Unraveled Podcast

Photo of David Hahn

This week David Hahn joins me to talk about starting and growing a local Drupal User Group.

Here's what we talked about:

Starting a local Drupal User Group

  • How is a user group different from a DrupalCon or Drupal Camp?
  • Is there a format that’s best? (one presenter, many presenters, support desk)
  • How did you choose a physical location? (Are there things that you need ie: projector, one big table, many small tables?)
  • What do you talk about in a user group?

Growing a local Drupal User Group

  • How do you get more Drupal users to come out? (groups.drupal.org, facebook)
  • When attendance is sporadic, how do you attract/retain consistent members?
  • How do you set (or change) expectations of attendees if everyone’s just coming to hire/get help with a specific problem?

Questions from Twitter... (well, actually email this time)

  • Phil Ward asked:
    1. How do you hold meetups that cater to all levels of experience?
    2. At what point do you start holding informative meetups and migrate away from just chatting?
  • @transition asked:
    1. We face a couple of challenges with our DUG (http://groups.drupal.org/houston-texas). One is getting more local Drupalers to come out. This month we started to experiment with Lightning Talks and we may steal the "Drupal News" idea I just saw. So, what suggestions does DJ Hahn have for that? Now we're using G.D.O and Facebook to get the word out. But our attendance is lower than we'd like and it's sporadic. Not many consistent, repeat attendees. How do we attract/retain a critical mass?
    2. The other issue is the TYPE of attendees we often get. Too often we're getting what I'll call 'talent grabbers', instead of people interested in making a contribution to the Drupal community. It's a mix of the following types.
      1. "I'm looking for a Drupal Expert to...":
        • work on a rush project we promised someone else we could do. We don't know much about Drupal, but we heard it was cool.
        • do my Drupal for me. I started a Drupal project, but it's too hard now and I don't want to be bothered with it. In either case, sometimes there's a suggestion of said "Drupal Expert" being paid, but it's often iffy.
      2. "I want a specific answer to my specific site development question/problem." I realize this is a common task for User Groups, but without the critical mass, it turns our DUG into a very small "Live Drupal Help Desk", which people will think SUCKS if we don't have answers to every esoteric question.
    3. I've been to a few other local tech meetups and I've seen similar issues, so I know it's not JUST us. But our core group is smaller, so the problems seem bigger.  Should we work more on trying to DEVELOP the local Drupal community/ecosystem (create our own farm team of people who can/will contribute)? Or are we not going about reaching the existing community in the best way?
    4. Also, do we have dates yet for Dallas Drupal Days 2012? :-)