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From behind the screen to centre stage at DrupalCon Munich

17th Jul 2012

I’m sitting on a panel at this year’s Drupalcon Munich alongside two of Lullabot’s key players, Brock Boland and Addison Berry, as well as Gaiam Drupal developer, Karyn Cassio. The panel is called ‘To Beer Or Not To Beer? Making Meetups Work’ and will be held on Wednesday 22nd August 2012 at 5pm in the Cuvilliez room in Munich’s Sheraton Hotel.

There will be plenty of practical tips and takeaways and audience contribution will be welcome. My fellow panellists are some of the most active parties involved in meetups and their opinions and advice will surely provide scope for those who are considering starting regular meetups and are mulling over venues and formats.

As social media lead for DrupalCon Munich 2012, I’ve worked closely with the Drupal Association marketing team and have spent time talking to community leaders and previous DrupalCon / Drupal Camp organisers to produce what I am hoping will be the ultimate marketing starter guide for anyone considering organising a Drupal Camp or Drupal meetup. The guide will be released under GPL license and packaged with the Drupal COD (Conference Organizing Distribution).

Livelink is powering forward with plans for a significant Drupal Camp in the North West later in the year which I will be talking about closer to the date but this panel gives me a great opportunity to get vocal about meetups. So here goes:

Meetups are vital to the Drupal community at large. As a group of geeks who are quite happy to languish behind our screens, we need every encouragement and opportunity to sit down face-to-face. Blogging, tweeting, skyping, emailing, chatrooms, texting etc. All reliable forms of communication but, singularly or collectively, no substitute for a sit down chat.

DrupalCon is great and so are the Drupal Camps that are beginning to crop up here and there but these larger events are not necessarily accessible to all. As an open source community that boasts of its inclusivity, it’s important that we provide a physical forum for all where everyone can enjoy some face time and have their voices heard.

Designed to stimulate the grass roots, meetups are for everyone. There is no expense involved and they can be as formal or as informal as you like. They provide freelancers and those who are new to Drupal with a forum and they will ultimately promote growth within the community. No Drupalist needs to be an island so next time you hear of a meetup, make sure you go along. In fact, if you happen to be in Munich on August 22nd, get yourself down to the Sheraton Hotel and get some advice on how to host your own.

Closer to home the North West Drupal user group meets each month at Manchester’s MadLab. Follow @NWDUG on Twitter or search #nwdug