Organizing WordPress Meetups: Supporting an Online Meetup


The Organizing Meetups is series of workshops aimed at all WordPress Community members across the world that are interested in organizing meetups.

Part 2 of the workshop is aimed at supporting meetup groups that would like to organize online events during the pandemic. This part will go into detail on the ins and outs of organizing online meetups, including topics like how to organize online meetups, how to keep them engaging, experimenting with different session formats, finding topics and speakers, among others.

Learning outcomes

  1. Familiarity with the different tools available to organizers to support and build their Meetups.
  2. A comfortable understanding of how to generate speaker ideas and/or resources for finding speakers.
  3. Ideas for different types of Meetup events, including how to run a Meetup based on the Learn platform.

Comprehension questions

  • What are some tools you can use to host online meetups?
  • Why is it important to bring in more organizers, and what are some ways to do so?
  • What are some ways for selecting topics and speakers? Do you always have to have experienced speakers?
  • What are some other event formats for Meetups?

Transcript

Harmony Romo 0:04
Hello and welcome to this Learn WordPress workshop on supporting and online Meetup. This is the second workshop and the organizing meetups workshop series and we’ll cover some topics to help you and your community continue to have amazing meetups. This workshop will primarily focus on online meetups, but many of the ideas we discuss today will apply to in person events. Also, we’ll discuss some tools for meeting online how to grow your organizing team and how to find topics and speakers and ideas for additional fun Meetup formats will definitely provide you some links below on some tools that you can go and research on your own.

Angela Jin 0:50
Hi, I’m Angela. I’m based in Madrid, Spain, and I’m involved with the WordPress community team as a deputy as a mentor and as an organizer.

Erica Varlese 1:02
Hi, I’m Erica. I’m based in the New York area and I’m a contributor to the community and polyglots teams.

Hari S 1:10
Hello Folks, I’m Hari Shanker. I am a deputy with the WordPress community team. And I’m based out of coochie in the state of Kerala in India.

Harmony Romo 1:20
Hi, I’m Harmony Romo and I’m based in Charleston, South Carolina and I work with the community as financial support.

Erica Varlese 1:33
So to get started with hosting a virtual event, we have a few tips on what you’ll need, and in general, the hosts will need the following equipment. One a camera which is can usually just be your computer’s built in camera that typically works just fine. headphones and microphone. Likewise, your computer’s built in speakers and microphone will will generally suffice but an external headset can often help with clarity. And lastly, you’ll need meeting webinar or streaming software. When announcing the Meetup, the first thing you need to do is announce it as an online event. To do that, and Meetup calm. Under the location box, you can now designate a Meetup as an online event. And then provide a video URL for your attendees to connect with your video or a streaming service that you’re using. You can also use any online tool of your choice to organize events provided that the tool is accessible for all attendees. You’ll need the following requirements for a presenter or talk event. You’ll want one URL to join and attend the event chat window for q&a, q&a or chatter between attendees, screen sharing SlideShare or video watching capabilities. enough space for the expected audience and enough time for the expected length of the event.

Harmony Romo 2:55
Other organizers have successfully tried out the following tools for organizing Meetup events, zoom, obviously, there’s a free plan and you have a limited 40 minute allotment, you can only have 100 attendees. So consider using a paid zoom account if you have one. Those there are no limitations on the paid zoom. As far as the minutes go. With Google meet 100 users can attend and you have a 60 minute allotment. And if you have a G Suite or enterprise account, you can get advanced features. jitsi meat is an open source video conferencing platform with a hosted version. We have YouTube Live, you can use it to stream events to other platforms if you want to reach a wider audience. The catch here there’s no attendee interactions. So apart from the YouTube live chat, facebook live, it’s similar to YouTube Live, you can use it to broadcast your sessions to a larger audience. attendee interactions are restricted to comments only on the live video. And then their stream yard and this is a web tool for making live streams on YouTube, Facebook Live, LinkedIn, Periscope etc. The free and basic versions could be useful for Meetup organizers.

Angela Jin 4:18
When you’re just starting to grow your local Meetup having more than one person on your organizing team is a huge plus. Having a team of organizers who collaborate to share resources and ideas means that you will be able to better brainstorm topics. You’ll have a larger network to invite speakers, other organizers and attendees and your team will be better equipped to keep up with scheduling regular events, thereby building lots of momentum for your Meetup. One way to add people to the organizing team is to find reliable people who are also WordPress enthusiasts in your network. However, it is also very important to ensure diversity on your organizing team. The WordPress community is very diverse. So Ensuring that you also have a diverse organizing team will help encourage greater diversity in your Meetup group more broadly. Additionally, having a diverse team will bring about fresh ideas and perspectives for topics and events. You can also put out messages during an event to announce your desire to add co organizers to the team or send email messages to your community base to get the word out that you are looking for co organizers. Anyone who follows the Five Good Faith Rules the trademark and is GPL compliant can be an organizer, so grow your organizing team as much as possible.

Hari S 5:41
I’d like to talk a bit about finding topics and speakers. For me that group. The common Meetup format is to invite a speaker to give a presentation on a topic. This is a great way for your community to extend your knowledge or even learn something new. As an organizer, you already may have some topics that you want to see discussed in your Meetup. That’s great. Don’t forget to also ask the community members for what they would like to hear as well. And if they’d like to hear from any speakers in particular, while it may be tempting to invite only experienced speakers, keep in mind that hearing from New Voices, especially those from your community, is an incredible opportunity to hear about new ways people are working with WordPress. Many people often get their first speaking experience from speaking at meetups and go on to become some of the most experienced speakers at larger WordPress events. Online meetups eliminate geographical restrictions, so you can now get anyone from any part of the world to speak at your Meetup. If your Meetup group members want to listen to a session or a workshop on a particular topic, you could reach out to other WordPress.tv and speakers are experts on that topic. and invite them to speak at your local Meetup. In case you face difficulties finding a speaker for one of your events, you could simply select a talk from wordpresser. tv and organize a watch party.

Erica Varlese 7:05
Speaking of different ways to find speakers for your events, we’d also like to talk a little bit about different types of Meetup formats. When you’re supporting an online Meetup, the ways with which you can engage your community are endless, which can also be kind of a daunting thought. Depending on the frequency with which your local Meetup group gets together, you may want to consider a variety of event formats to better engage with your community and encourage new participants to join as well. If your meetups offer some variety, it can be a helpful way to reach new audiences and pull in new contributors as well. The bread and butter were the most common of all Meetup groups are generally presentations. With a presentation style event, you might have an existing community member or a guest speaker host an information style session for members of your group. For making use of different tools available online, a slightly different format to explore can be a workshop style event. speakers can explore things like breakout rooms so that attendees have more hands on learning and one on one time to apply and explore the skills they’re learning. Another cool option for workshops is to use a pre recorded video, such as videos from WordPress.tv, from prior word camps, or even Vitor videos on this learn platform itself. When considering different types of events, don’t underestimate the power of a simple social Hangout. Providing a zoom link and a friendly face can be an excellent Welcome to new members, and an engaging way for community members to connect with each other virtually. It’s especially useful for attendees who would like to be part of a larger WordPress community, but may not be able to attend regular in person meetings for a variety of reasons like distance. Last but not least, it’s a great idea to include regular helpdesk style events as well. This is an excellent opportunity for experienced members to share their knowledge with others, and a welcoming way for new community members, and especially those who are new to WordPress to get a friendly introduction to what we do.

Harmony Romo 9:10
Meetup organizers can use the Learn WordPress content for their Meetup events. Also, simply ask your Meetup group to just watch one of the workshops and the events leading up to your scheduled event. And then you can host a discussion group. If you’re interested. You can start right away by organizing a discussion group based on one of the available workshops for your Meetup group on Learn wordpress.org You don’t need to sign up as a discussion group leader to organize a workshop for your local Meetup. And here’s how you can get started. Just take a look at the available workshops in Learn WordPress and select one for your Meetup group. And if you want you can seek help from the other group organizers and finalizing a workshop for the discussion group. And once you’ve identified a workshop for your local Meetup group, schedule a discussion event with your Meetup group on Meetup dot com. And then you specify in the Meetup description that this is a discussion group connected to a workshop. And then you ask your Meetup group members to watch the workshop video before attending the workshop. Make sure that you plan the event at least a week before the current date so that your Meetup members have enough time to view the workshop before participating in the discussion group. Send your message to your Meetup group members announcing the Meetup. Encourage them to see the Learn WordPress workshop video. And then you request them to participate in the discussion group. Organize the discussion group at the date and time and then start the discussion group by asking members about how many of them saw the workshop hopefully most of them. You can start by providing a very brief five to 10 minute long summary of the content and then ask questions to the members and try to start a discussion. You can consider innovating some tips include organizing a quiz, maybe towards the end of the session or containing exercise as a part of the Meetup event.

Erica Varlese 11:09
And this brings us to the end of our workshop on supporting an online Meetup. We hope that this gives you lots of inspiration for continuing to nurture and grow your local WordPress community. Of course, if you ever have any questions, you can email the community team deputies at support@wordcamp.org. Or join the conversations in the making WordPress slack instance in the community events channel. Thank you so much for joining us today and happy organizing!

  • Length 11 mins
  • Topic Community Team, Contributing, Meetups, WordPress
  • Language English
  • Captions English

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Angela Jin
@angelasjin
An inveterate volunteer, Angela has a longstanding passion for building strong, inclusive communities. She joined Automattic in 2018 as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project, and adores working with WordPress communities around the world. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Angela is currently trying out Madrid, Spain, where she delights in learning Spanish, exploring by eating, and reading a good book.
evarlese
@evarlese
I am a Community Wrangler sponsored by Automattic and based in the New York area. I spend most of my time contributing to the Polyglots, Community, and Training teams. My WordPress journey began about 10 years ago, when I started my blog while working as a freelance writer. In my offline life, I love travel, coffee, dogs, and learning languages (ping me in français, italiano, português, o español – I love any chance to practice!)
Hari Shanker R
@harishanker
I am a Community Wrangler at Automattic, and I contribute to the WordPress Community Team full-time as a Community Deputy. WordPress is one of the biggest passions in my life and I enjoy working on programs that support the global WordPress community. I believe that open-source tech and the open web have the potential to make the world a better place. I have had a rather diverse career with significant experience in the domains of Retail Banking, Print & Web Journalism, Web Development, Entrepreneurship, Event Management, Professional Blogging, and Education. Outside of work, I enjoy writing (blogging) as a hobby, and I’m a compulsive bibliophile. I’m also a happily married pet parent.
harmonyromo
@harmonyromo