On June 30th (Nottingham – click here for details) and July 12th (Manchester – Click here for details) I will hopefully be attending the SharePoint UserGroup meetings at their respective locations and I wanted to share some of the benefits of the usergroup and this great community we are in.
1) Free Sessions
The first and most obvious benefit is the sessions that take place at these events, they are free and are led by some of the industries top professionals as well as your local SharePoint guru they provide you with the chance of Q and A’s and the answers you get are of far greater value that that of a Google search not to mention that usually the Q’s will open up some great dialogue between the speakers as well as the attendees.
Mark Rackley has an interesting take on the Community in that usually technology focused usergroups can be sometimes uninviting, sometimes elitest and sometimes there are just idiots who like to try sound like they “know it all”.
Well my take on this is that the SharePoint community has been very welcoming as Mark says, you can meet some interesting people and create friendships out of this common interest and beyond that.
The community itself tends to be fairly small and the people that attend you will see at lots of different events, this makes going to these events a lot easier as there’s a friendly face to have a chat to during the breaks etc.
In the events there are people that work for Consultancies, Vendors, Gold Partners, the local school or College an unheard of printing company etc. There are a vast array of attendees and the networking opportunity is great I have personally had Interviews off the back of the events and I believe the role I am in currently wouldn’t have been possible had I have not met the people at the usergroups so that can be a 3a) Career Progression.
4) SharePint, ShareCurry, ShareGolf, ShareWhatever
There is a rule in at SharePoint UserGroups and that is, whatever the social event that follows, it must be prefixed with “Share” and there is at the very least, a SharePint after each usergroup. In Nottingham there is usually a Curry too and in Edinburgh last year, Chris Forbes gave some of the travellers a night out in Edinburgh and showed us the sights.
5) SharePoint Saturday
It’s worth mentioning SharePoint Saturday an event that came over here from the US, SharePoint Saturday UK is a commercial event (paid for by sponsors as opposed to the UG which isnt sponsored) that isn’t backed by the usergroup but has been organised by members of the User Group and it’s the members of the User Group that have put so much effort into publicising it. Representatives from ID Live and Lightning Tools organise the event but I think they would agree that the success is based on everything good about the usergoups (as well as a lot of personal hard work from Mark, Tony and Brett).
Lastly I asked on twitter and the responses I got are on the right, who are the people that replied? Current SUGUK attendees so if you were thinking of attending and were not sure whether to, I hope this gives you the motivation to sign up.
P.s. as Sam (@PinkPetrol) mentioned above, he wrote a post on this last year http://sp365.me/k3lhUJ
At the Manchester SUGUK with @MarkStokes, we were talking about the attendance of the usergroups and how we could possibly help the increase the attendance. Now we did discuss the SUGUK website and how it needs to be more interactive and appealing (I believe this is being worked on) but I also think there is some help that the SharePoint blogging community, can give.
My suggestion is that anyone who blogs about SharePoint in the UK should have a link of some description, to their local SUGUK meeting.
i.e. something small like this could help get people interested, I am sure we could get some good designers to create us some cool graphics for the usergroups / banners and that way if you use wordpress at least, you can add it as a widget.
Please leave me your thoughts and please RT so we can get feedback on the idea.