SWIG is the Scouse WordPress (or Web) Interest Group. It’s done alright. We’ve had many a happy evening of talks, shared knowledge and beer. But lately it’s quietened off.
This is natural – at times we’d have a turnout of over 25 people, and for a good long while it felt like a popular and successful event. In fact, it seemed to be the most popular in the country and when we ran bigSWIG we had fifty attendees. In Liverpool. That’s not far off what a good night in London achieves,
The problem is, any event like this has to attract new people as well as the local establishment. It’s no good simply making it happen once a month. People can only get so much out of a monthly meeting with a talk or two, some show and tell, and so on. Once you’ve been a few times you go as much for the social craic as you do for the knowledge. And there’s the problem – experienced people will wander off to new events.
So what’s the answer? How can we bring life back into the group? What can we do to bring in new people whilst keeping it all relevant to a more experienced audience?
Right now, I don’t know the answer to that, but I have some ideas. Should we run just quarterly, with a casual pub based meetup once a month? That way the marketing and planning effort can be concentrated into an event that will be useful to a larger audience. Or should we switch to MeetUp (because by jove, it’s good at spamming people about events!) and never mind the extra costs? Perhaps we should pass the baton on to somebody else in the area who wants to run a local WordPress group?
The other thing is, should we drop the whole WordPress thing and make it about the web? In our minds, I think it is more about the web, but in terms of marketing, the logo, and our community connection, it’s still seen very much as a WordPress event.
So for now, SWIG is off the agenda. We’re going to think. Regroup. If you have any ideas at all, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you. This isn’t, I promise you, the end of SWIG. We’ll be back.