Time goes by fast. Especially when thinking back at when we started our User Group in Sweden. We started the Sweden SharePoint User Group (www.ssug.se & www.facebook.com/sharepointsweden) back in 2007. We’ve had it running for a solid 6+ years and are soon entering our 7th anniversary. Pretty cool if you ask me. So here’s a few details and notes about that.
Sweden SharePoint User Group History
Back in 2007 at our very first meeting we were only about 15 people showing up. This was of course due to the natural reasons that nobody knew we existed and that we hadn’t really promoted the user group that well for our first meeting.
As time passed by and we had a few meetings every other month, members grew and the interest for our User Group really picked up. The following years the adoption of SharePoint became more and more common in organizations, which naturally led to more people picking up an interest in our group as well. Today we have more than 1100+ members that have registered their interest in the group. AWESOME.
So, where have we been hanging out?
During all the years we’ve been pulling our efforts for actual offline and on-site meetings. We rarely to never do any online sessions or recorded webcasts. The most obvious reason for this is that we want people to show up at our meetings, network, have fun, (obviously drink beer) and while doing all of this be able to grow their own professional network.
We started out in Stockholm by hanging out at various companies and letting them sponsor our meetings by setting up a room, arranging food and beverages and mostly have at least one session delivered by one of their SharePoint professionals. Today we have meetings in Stockholm and Malmö regularly and we’re expanding the group (again) to Göteborg.
As time flew by, we also set up a few different web sites for our members to use as a discussion point. We ended up realizing that nobody actually used those resources since you have MSDN and Stackexchange. We then decided to only use our new Facebook page for discussions and interactions (www.facebook.com/sharepointsweden) and our EventBrite page for event registration and overview (www.ssug.se). The rest of the action happens when we meet, and not online – so be sure to show up at a future meeting in order not to miss out.
Why would you attend the SSUG meetings?
In Sweden we are pretty confident that this is the most relaxed and easygoing way to network and learn about SharePoint – FOR FREE. All the hours, days, weeks and months of work that we put into this is on a voluntary basis in order to keep it neutral and in a relaxed atmosphere.
Some of the top reasons why I personally attend (and organize) our meetings are:
*Networking * You get a chance to meet old and new friends in the same field as yourself. Invaluable connections for your future adventures in SharePoint land.
* Learning *You get a chance to learn and pick up new stuff about SharePoint.
* Customer showcases *We try to have some sessions about customer showcases where you can see SharePoint being implemented in an organization and hear about the challenges, benefits and so on.
*Social * There’s no doubt that these events are one of the most social of events where geeks meet up. SharePoint is about sharing and collaborating – we make sure to do that when we meet. I mean who doesn’t like beer anyway?
Fun & relaxed We always change the venue and keep it simple and relaxed. Grab a beer, listen to SharePoint and chit chat with fellow SharePointeers. Keeping it simple and making it awesome.
* Awesome *I don’t need to explain this one, do I?
We have fun. That’s key. So watch out for one of the following SharePoint geeks as they may be spreading awesomeness or simple rant about random SharePoint topics at an event near you in the future :-)