Digging up Resources for Technical Communities

Those of you who know me from my previous job as a Technology Evangelist in Canada know that there is one thing I STONGLY believe in… User Communities of all shapes and sizes.

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I remember when I first started my job – one of the things we tried to do was gather people of similar interests together and facilitate them into creating their OWN communities that had some sort of sustaining passion to keep things going.  Some have survived and thrived, others have evolved to ad-hoc gatherings around events and still some have faded away all together.  No matter what their current state – a sense of community is present in the people that were part of it and the relationships created by being part of a community are still very much used when the opportunity arises.

I’ve found some communities have evolved from in-person events to include online gathering places and forums or social networks like twitter, Facebook or Google+. But something just can’t replace the face to face connection you get while at an event accompanied by a good old fashioned handshake.

Part of my role here at The Mother Ship (a.k.a. Microsoft HQ) is working with the programs team who provide all sorts of resources you might know about and use on a regular basis (TechNet vLabs, Eval Center and Microsoft Virtual Academy to name a few) and some you might not.

From the “Might not know of” category is “Microsoft Technical Communities” program. It’s got something for you if:

  • You are looking for a local group / technical community of like minded people – you can find one of over 1400 registered communities worldwide (and growing).
  • You are running a technical community – you can sign up and register your group and gain access to resources to help grow your membership
  • You are a technical speaker or subject matter expert – you can register and connect with community leaders who are seeking speakers for their communities

Besides being a central resource point to connect people and communities together – the Microsoft Technical Communities program also provides benefits to it’s Community leaders to help grow their group memberships and sustain the organizational structure that keeps their group together.

  • eBooks for members
  • Office 365 subscriptions to help executives coordinate and collaborate resources
  • Promotion efforts on external sites like Facebook and Linked’in
  • Visibility of upcoming meetings on sites like TechNet and MSDN.
  • Access to “TechTrax”  webcasts and exclusive Q&A with experts to help deliver content
  • PowePoints / Demo Scripts / Demo setups for re-delivery
  • …. and more

Are you looking to connect with other Like Minded technical folks? To find a community or a user group event in your area, try the events calendar and the community list.

If you run a user group or speak regularly at events, sign up for the program at www.technicalcommunity.com!

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One last note: we’re always looking for ways to make things better.  Got ideas on what we can do to improve the Microsoft Technical Communities Program? Drop me a comment below or if you prefer – shoot me an email (rick.claus@microsoft.com) – I’ll make sure to pass it along.

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Rick

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