Message From the President’s Desk – Michael Olin
How do you reboot a user group?
The New Year has arrived and I’ve certainly run out of excuses for not writing my President’s Message. My last column, which was delivered in the final issue of our NYOUG Technical Journal back in July was, as I pointed out in its introduction, a cop-out. I simply published the text of a commencement address I had given a few months earlier. The fall came and went, with no column, and the calendar changed to 2015, with a winter column nowhere in sight. Part of the delay is simply due to other priorities (like my “real” job) getting in the way, but it’s also taken a while for us to get NYOUG’s electronic house in order, a prerequisite for the announcements I’m going to include.
I’ve written before about the decline in attendance at our full-day General Meetings and our difficulties in finding enough speakers to fill our agenda consistently with quality presentations. Last year, we dropped the requirement that speakers at our meetings provide an accompanying white paper for publication in the NYOUG Technical Journal, with the hope that not having to submit a paper might help us attract more speakers. While we can’t say for sure that this change has helped us fill our meeting agendas, we do know that no longer requiring papers has resulted in the demise of the Journal (which had not included any papers other than those that accompanied meeting presentations for several years). Attendance at our training days is down, scant numbers of attendees sign in to our webinars, and in-person SIG meetings appear to be a thing of the past.
The NYOUG steering committee has been discussing these issues for the most of the past year and the one thing that has become clear is the fact that NYOUG needs a much more robust online presence. Our hope is that more online visibility will raise awareness of the NYOUG and lead to the group being viewed as a trusted resource online. In turn, we will work on leveraging our online reputation to increase both membership and participation in both our online and in-person events. It’s NYOUG 2.0 and this is the year to get started.
Where can you find NYOUG online?
NYOUG information can be found in a number of places online:
- NYOUG Website
Our website, at www.nyoug.org will continue to be our online home. This is where you will find our calendar of upcoming events, archives of presentations from our General Meetings and Webinars, back-issues of the NYOUG Technical Journal, current and past President’s Message columns, as well as links to other Oracle-related sites and selected blogs. We hope to start an NYOUG blog later this year. Information about NYOUG vendor sponsors can also be found on the website.
We will continue to direct postings about job opportunities to our NYOUG group on LinkedIn here www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1127257. This is a closed membership group, so we can keep the spam level down. While membership is not restricted to paid members of NYOUG, we do moderate both the membership of the group and postings to the discussion, promotions, and jobs boards. Feel free to post here with information about positions that you’re looking to fill or to reach out if you’re looking for a new position.
We started an NYOUG group on Facebook. While this group is just getting off the ground, we are posting all of our weekly email blasts here. We hope to start getting some useful conversations going here, perhaps providing an online version of the “Ask The Experts” sessions that we have at our General Meetings. In fact, there was one question posed at our December meeting that had the panelists (and attendees) scratching their heads looking for a good solution. I’ll be starting things off with a summary of the question and some of the proposed solutions on our group page here: www.facebook.com/groups/37716583027. We would love to have the NYOUG Facebook page become the place that Oracle professionals can rely on for posting about issues encountered and getting good answers from their peers in the NYOUG community.
NYOUG is now on Twitter too, with the handle @nyoug_nyc. We’re just getting started here as well, tweeting links to our weekly email blasts and meeting agendas. We must be doing something right, because our first follower was @arupnanda (thanks, Arup). Our twitter feed can be found here: www.twitter.com/nyoug_nyc. We’ll start following our favorite speakers and Oracle experts and hope to be tweeting some original thoughts (and retweeting the best of what we’ve been seeing online) as well.
- NYOUG Webinars
Promoting our lunchtime webinars as SIG meetings may have been a bit too exclusionary. We want to make everyone aware of all scheduled NYOUG webinars and not worry that some of you may be missing useful information because of the listing as a “DBA SIG” or “Warehouse SIG” presentation. We know that you are busy, and our labeling of the presentations may have led you to not even look at the announcement for a webinar that you may have been interested in. From now on, they will all be simply NYOUG Webinars so we hope that you will take a minute to read the announcement and decide that it’s worth eating lunch at your desk to join us for an hour.
Still Live from New York
We’re not going to abandon our General Meetings. We’ve already scheduled all four meetings for this year, starting with our Spring meeting on March 19, 2015. The rest of the meeting dates for 2015 are June 11, September 24 and December 10. The call for abstracts for the Spring meeting just went out and we’re working on lining up keynote speakers for all four meetings. Mark your calendars and see if you can get away from the office to join us. We’re also hoping to arrange some full-day training sessions if we can get enough people to sign up. NYOUG Training Days are probably the most cost-effective way to keep your skills up to date or learn something new. There’s no additional travel, no need to stay overnight, and we even provide meals and snacks. All of this is included with seminars from top experts in the field for a fraction of what they charge for publicly available classes.
The NYOUG steering committee has a lot on its plate this year as we try to reboot the group with an enhanced online presence. We could certainly use the help of our members to make this a success. Check out NYOUG online. Join our groups on social media. Contribute with your own posts. We have a vast amount of Oracle knowledge and experience and a well of expertise that’s just waiting to be tapped. Let’s work together to make NYOUG the “go to” resource for Oracle users both online and in person.