I think online communities are awesome. How cool is it that we can connect with peers all over the world and share experiences, code, kitten gifs and so forth? The Umbraco community is pretty cool in this regard as it is very open and friendly.
What I think is even more awesome is when a community transcends online. It is quite special to meet up with a bunch of people with whom you share a common interest or maybe even have talked to online through the forum, Slack and so forth.
With Umbraco this can be attending one of the local Umbraco Festivals or Codegarden (and highly recommend that!) but they are only held once a year. Another way to do this is by attending one of the many local meetups that are held around the globe on a more regular basis.
What is a meetup?
Great question! According to dictionary.com it is:
“A meeting, especially a regular meeting of people who share a particular interest and have connected with each other through a social-networking website”
And I would say that is spot on. An Umbraco meetup is a local group of Umbraco users that gather on a (semi) regular basis to talk about, well, Umbraco.
Meetup arranged by our Gold Partner, Kraftvaerk in Aarhus.
What do you get out of going to a meetup?
Most meetups have a set agenda, usually presentations on an Umbraco related topic (Package development, Deployment scenarios, case stories, conference round-ups, just to mention a few I've seen) and then "socializing". So you'll very likely get some new knowledge you can use in your daily work but just as important, you get to talk to other developers from the local area. It can be incredibly beneficial to discuss with other people that face the same challenges as you but who are not colleagues you see every day. You might find new job opportunities and for companies hosting a meetup it is a great way to put themselves on the map.
For me personally, working at HQ and all, the thing I enjoy the most is seeing Umbraco implementations and extensions and talking to the users. I've also had the pleasure of speaking to a couple of meetups. All in all, experiencing the community IRL is so much fun!
I recently had the pleasure of attending a meetup in Manchester (Manchester and North West Umbraco Meetup if you’re interested). It was a great night with a good crowd and a good mix of topics. Even started out with a drink and a little bit of chatter before everyone settled into the seats. First on the agenda was Kevin Jump, who did a show and tell of his hugely popular uSync package. After a short break there was something which I at least, haven’t seen before at a meetup; a panel discussion on package development.
The panel discussion at the Manchester meetup including four Umbraco legends.
This worked incredibly well. In part due to the panel which consisted of 4 Umbraco legends: The aforementioned Kevin Jump who was joined by Matt Brailsford, Pete Duncanson and Marc Goodson. They had a lot to say about state of packages in 2017. The venue itself also contributed to a good discussion. It was an amphitheater style seating arrangement (see image below), which contributed to a better connection to the audience. And then, of course the audience itself, asking some good questions all facilitated by host of the evening Sam Flanagan. I really enjoyed the mix of a more standard presentation and the panel discussion which opened up a lot more for audience involvement.
Great audience and great venue for the Manchester meetup.
I’ve noticed that people are experimenting a bit more with the format these days, which I think is great to see. Panel discussion, hackathons, open space sessions the list goes on. Really cool to see the focus on involvement and not just the usual presentations (nothing like a good presentation but they also require someone to prep a bit) that get people together.
There's probably not a meetup close to me...
Chances are that you are wrong 😊 Just in the next couple of months there are Umbraco meetups in Amsterdam, Leeds, Seattle, Mumbai, Sydney, London, Glasgow, Oslo Kent, Dorset and Edinburgh (See the amazing list and keep up to date here Our.umbraco.org#meetups).
3 Tips on Meetups
- A lot of the meetup groups use meetup.com to organise, it’s a pretty neat tool built for the exact same purpose so try searching there for an Umbraco meetup near you.
- When you have found one - participate! Just by showing up you're actively contributing to your local community. If you're up for it you can contribute even more by finding topics, hosting or maybe even speaking at the next meetup.
- If you don't find one - you can create your own local meetup group. Meetup.com is a great tool for this. It can be quite a lot of work getting a meetup group of the ground so you might want to team up with someone. If you want some good tips on how to create a meetup group and keep it going I recommend reading: http://skrift.io/articles/archive/keeping-the-flame-alive/ and http://endzonesoftware.com/warrenandravi/
Thanks and H5YR!
Before I go, a massive shout out to:
- All the organisers out there who spend their spare time arranging Umbraco meetups
- All the agencies/companies that host the events (many of the Umbraco Gold Partners regularly host, if not plan meetups)
- All the participants and speakers
Have you thanked your local meetup organiser today? 😉