Microsoft had a nice end-of-year social for area user group organizers tonight; not just developer focused user groups, but a wide spectrum of technology related groups. I had a chance to talk a bit with some folks from AITP and ITPA — a bit of alphabet soup, right? It gets better, though, as some folks from PMI were there too. I’m not sure, but I might be leaving out a few acronyms.
I didn’t realize the subtle difference in subject matter for the groups before tonight; in my mind, there was “developer focused” groups like WeProgram.Net and HRSSUG and “all the other ITPro sort of stuff.” It was good for me to begin to see the different facets of each group and know that there’s more technology organizations in the Hampton Roads area.
We may pursue some multi-group efforts in 2005, even it’s just social stuff. It was great for Kelly from Microsoft to bring us all together for a few hours — and for her sister to answer the last minute catering call!
I also had a good chat with a WeProgram.Net regular (and user group connoiseur), Greg P. On the West Coast, Greg ran a Delphi user group and he has a lot of experience with community building. We discussed the challenges and rewards of being active in a local programming community — and how such a small percentage of developers seem to invest time in the user group space. It’s a shame as it’s a really underutilized resource in Hampton Roads. I guess that’s a call to action for us user group organizers, right? We need to find better ways to reach out and get people involved. Microsoft and INETA have built a good framework for our efforts, and Microsoft is more active in our area (with presentations etc) than ever before.