Is Your User Group Next?

In today’s Houston Chronicle there is an article that reads “The Houston Area League of PC Users – which once claimed to be the largest computer users group in the country – is calling it quits.

In an email sent to its members today, HAL-PC’s board members said the group will dissolve. It’s a fate that has befallen many computer users groups, which initially blossomed with the start of the personal computing revolution that began in the 1970s.

The email acknowledges HAL-PC’s struggle with relevancy, and says low attendance at a June 21 meeting sparked the board’s decision.”

Groups that are not expanding their interests to other technologies such as social media (including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp, & LinkedIn), smartphones, tablets, TV’s, smart TV’s, 3d printers, etc., will be & are experiencing the same issues that plagued HAL-PC.

I think that the statement by the author, Dwight Silverman, sums it up nicely, “

“Bluntly put, HAL-PC failed to keep up with the times. Its members grew older and their interests didn't expand. If you're looking for evidence as to what happened, you need look no further than the group's Twitter account, which has been inactive since August 2009, or its Facebook page, which has been dormant since August 2011.”

To view the article, go to

Please comment below.


User Groups Demise

While unfortunate, this is not a major shock. Many groups are in serious decline. There isn't a magic wand to reverse the trend. Social media can be helpful, but like anything else, it requires a lot of time and effort. Group leaders need to take a long look at what they are doing. They need to be creative, open to new ideas and take chances.

There are groups that are surviving and even growing, but they don't operate like what some of us think of as user group.

Reply to Marie

There is nothing wrong with "relying" on the past. There are some methods that worked in the past and can still work today. The problem is when user group leaders are unwilling to evaluate what is working and what is not working. Flexibility and taking chances on new ideas and techniques is what's needed.

User Group Demise

Some groups are surviving and growing.  Those are the groups that have a membership that is willing to look to the future and try new things.  Group leaders can only do so much to keep things moving forward, the members have to be willing to move forward with them.  Keeping up with technology is a challenge that becomes more difficult as our membership ages. Technology moves faster, we move slower.  The next generation uses a very different method of meeting.  User groups will either evolve or they will sadly meet their demise.