Hi, fellow performance nuts. We're planning the next High Performance Drupal meetup in Los Angeles, California, and I'd like to coordinate with everyone here in the larger group to see how we can boost our online attendance.
What would make this meetup more interesting and accessible? What's working for your user groups and other organizations with online tech events and webinars?
The highest number of remote attendees we've had so far is 7 when mikeytown2 presented on HTTPRL (and mikeytown2 himself presented remotely). Recently, that number of remote attendees has been hovering around 2.
This is pretty good attendance for a specialized topic such as Drupal high performance, but in comparison we've consistently had between 15-20 people from the Los Angeles area attend in person and I'm not sure how to cater more to those who'd like to attend (and present) remotely.
Possible problems ^
The reasons that I can think of that our remote attendance has been lower than expected are:
- The date and time of the meetups are not convenient for those who would otherwise attend;
- The meetup topics themselves aren't interesting to those who would attend;
- The topics aren't announced with enough time to inform people who would attend what the presentation topics are;
- The actual attending part is difficult and inhibiting attendance.
Meetup details ^
Here are a few details of how we currently run these meetups.
In general, presenters aren't coming out of the woodwork and instead our event organizers are regularly asking members of our local and global communities if they'd like to present. This is standard operating procedure, but I'd love to hear the ways that other organizers are approaching potential speakers.
Meetup topics in the past have included Solr, Pressflow, high performance hardware, Google SPDY, frontend performance, HTTPRL, using fileconveyer with CDNs, load testing with BlazeMeter, a case study on GRAMMY.com, and an informal chat with Riot Games on how they use Drupal.
Announcements are posted on Drupal Groups and Meetup.com with almost always 1 week's notice. The meetup is always on the 3rd Tuesday of the month and is from 7-9pm Pacific Time. The news, announcements and raffle drawing portion of the event is scheduled between 7-8pm and featured presentations and lightning talks begin at 8pm.
We used to use Google Hangouts but have had limited attendance and technical success following their URL scheme changes. Since then, we've been using WebEx successfully to both broadcast and record our meetups. Attendees receive the WebEx URL and password when clicking the "Signup" button on the Drupal Groups meetup announcement, as well as an automatic email reminder one day before the event.
There are dozens of videos that have been recorded but haven't been uploaded yet. Our wiki page at http://groups.drupal.org/node/269563 describes how we're working through the video backlog. These videos are later shared on Planet via the presenter's or event organizer's blog.
Possible solutions ^
- Unlike Google Hangouts, WebEx provides consistent, predictable URLs for each meeting, so for the next few meetups I'll include the URL directly in the meetup announcement instead of putting it behind a Drupal.org account registration and event signup process.
- Add GMT time equivalent to the meeting announcement to accompany the local time information.
- Use "Webinar" in the title instead of the current "WebEx" wording.
What else can we do? What would make this meetup more interesting and accessible? What's working for your user groups and other organizations with online tech events and webinars?