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TPCUG SIGs (SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS)



   About SIGs by John Roy


One of the many advantages of a computer user group is the connection with other people with similar interests . The monthly meetings provide a gathering place for this common group and make a best effort to make presentations that interest the majority of the members.



With varying experience and areas of interest it is not practical to present details in any subject area. That’s where a Special Interest Group (SIG) can fill the void. A SIG focuses on a specific area with a small group of interested people. It does not have to be held in a large community room. If the group is manageable with less than six people the meeting place could be a rotation of member homes.



The best way to initiate a SIG is to identify what special computer interest area you may have. Once you have identified a topic use your club’s resources to find other interested members. If interest is shown by other members the group can meet and set up an itinerary. If the group requires a knowledgeable leader then the club resources are available for that search.

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Use your club’s resources to find other interested members, a knowledgeable leader, or a meeting place. A request for a new SIG can be via a monthly meeting announcement, a newsletter article or a posting on our member’s forum or our website. A sign up sheet can also be posted at a monthly meeting to collect key contact information.



Once everyone knows who is interested in a particular group meeting, details can be established. Decide on a good day, time, and location to hold the SIG meeting. If the group is large then request a club officer to schedule time in the library community room. Concentrate on setting up the first meeting and defer deciding on the frequency and quantity of meetings until after your initial meeting. A SIG is as flexible as the group wants it to be. It could be one meeting and done or it could be a weekly meeting until the members determine they have met its goals.



When requesting or signing up for a SIG please be aware that it is not intended to be an instructor-led training session. The group objectives are to have members interact with each other sharing information about a subject. The members don’t have to be knowledgeable but must contribute information. If the SIG was on Photoshop then it would be expected that the members of the group at least owned a copy of the software. Even if they knew very little about using the software they could bring questions they have for others to help or for the group to solve at the meeting.



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