How to create & run a user group

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How to create a User Group

As was written many times a successful User Group is a great benefit not only for the company which provides products but and mainly for the users who use those products for their business, jobs or fun, and who are looking for support or just would like to share their experience and feedback. Below you can find a couple of advices of how to create a successful MySQL User Group as well as good tips for running and keeping this User Group alive and active! Please feel free to provide feedback to the information below in order we to keep here as much useful information as possible. 

Guidelines for creating a MySQL User Group

  1. First of all check whether any existing MySQL User Group has already been set in your region. If so, you can easily join or help to refresh that. The list of active MySQL Groups is here.
  2. If there is no existing, you can create a new one in your region. Based on our experience it is great to have more initiators than just one, but it is up to you!
  3. To start your local MySQL group, you should decide which networking service you would like to use.
    • You can use either meetup.com, LinkedIn, Facebook or Xing (most of MySQL User Groups are on meetup, but it costs small amount of money. FB does not seem to be a good choice since not all users have fb account...):
      • These sites provide a number of facilities to organize your group, like a calendar, invitation system etc. Some also provide discussion boards and photo galleries and many other things that ease the promotion and organization of your meetings.
      • Most of them provide these services for free, others (like meetup.com) require you to pay.
      • Make sure that the service allows you to schedule meetings and send out invitations and reminders.
      • People interested in attending should be able to register, so you get an overview about how many people to expect.
    • The other way is to make your own user group place in your own server. If you are wondering about the procedure, just take a look of this sample steps:
      • The easiest way is to download a community software called MediaWiki.
      • Unzip it into your webserver. The requirements are PHP > 4.3 and MySQL database.
      • Follow the install wizard.
      • You have MySQL UG software installed in 4 minutes.
      • Of course, any other Content Management System or Groupware would work, too.
  4. Once you registered your group on any of these sites, you can invite your friends to join your group and start promoting it (see under point 1 below).
  5. Make sure to notify the MySQL Community Relation Team and they will update the

How to run a User Group

So you successfully founded a local user group and wonder how you can attract and reach out to interested people? Here are some hints on how to get started:

  1. Choose your target audience for sending out invitations:
    • Research local user groups (Linux/BSD/Windows, Perl/PHP/.Net/Java/Ruby). Hint: try a web search for "User Group" and your city name.
    • Universities (e.g. Computer Science Students)
    • Local associations of SMBs in the IT Industry (most of them have web sites and mailing lists)
    • Social Network sites (e.g. FaceBook, LinkedIn or Xing)
    • Blogs (e.g. via PlanetMySQL) and MySQL mailing lists/forums
    • Also check out Meetup.com for other people interested in a Meetup
    • You can also contact the MySQL Community Relation Team for more advice and also promotion of your new group via MySQL SC team, themselves or at MySQL web pages, planet.mysql etc.!
  2. Advance Preparations
  3. Start planning for the first real User Group meeting:
    • Meeting date: Set a reasonable date enough in advance in order to allow users to plan their attendance. Good choice is to align your User Group meeting with some of other events or actions like upcoming technical conference or MySQL Tech Tours (check the MySQL events page for upcoming events, Upcoming MySQL Events on wikis or contact the MySQL Community Relations Team). That allows you to get more attendees as well as ease to find appropriate speaker.
    • Meeting speakers and topics: There are several ways of how to get a qualified speaker to your meeting. You can always contact your MySQL contact person in your region if you know any or ask for help the MySQL Community Relations Team
    • Meeting place: Using conference room in Oracle office is of course doable, a lot of first User Group meetings took advantage of this option. For ensuring it is possible in your region, contact either the MySQL Community Relations Team or any of your local Oracle contact person.
    • Invitation & Registration: Once you have gathered your list of potential candidates to invite, send out your invitation. Start inviting early and set a deadline for the confirmations (A "No" helps, too!). Also post a note to event notification sites like Upcoming.org. Keep people posted about how many people have registered, eventual changes, etc. Shortly before the event it is always good to send out a reminder note to all registered participants.
    • Promoting your User Group meeting: possible via all the options in the point 1. above.
    • MySQL support and materials: MySQL Community Relations Team can provide your User Group meeting with following support:
      • Can connect you with others successful MySQL User Group leaders to share experience with leading the User Groups;
      • Help to find speakers from SC team, engineering team or PM;
      • Help with the meeting place in Oracle's premises;
      • Help with promoting your event at planet.mysql; MySQL blogs; MySQL events page; MySQL List of User Groups...etc.
      • Sponsoring with marketing material, discount for MySQL books and more.. (that depends whether and what is the actual offer or on the stock);
      • Funding a "pizza" for the meeting...
  4. When you have the date set, please inform the MySQL Community Relations Team in order they to update the List of MySQL User Groups.
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The individuals who post here are part of the extended Oracle community and they might not be employed or in any way formally affiliated with Oracle. The opinions expressed here are their own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual authors, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.