(Written by William)
Historically, LEGO Users Groups really grew in popularity with the use of electronic means. Sites like LUGnet helped foster an environment where adults could form connections about a hobby that is potentially embarrassing at first. Today, many people will join a LUG by searching online for a local group near them. Here is a cute LEGO comic by FBTB.net to illustrate the experience. (Click image for larger view.) 😀
Therefore, it is important to understand what your group’s options are in creating an online presence. The following sections will discuss some of the more common methods used by LEGO Users Groups on the web. If your LUG does not employ one of these methods, you may consider bringing it up in one of your LUG meetings.
➡ LEGO USERS GROUP – WEBPAGE
The larger your LUG gets, the more likely it will have need of some sort of homepage. This will allow a LUG to centralize all their information in a single place. This helps members orientate themselves with events and activities.
A website will also offer a great place to direct people interested in your group. It is practically expected to appear on business cards and flyers and lends a little credibility to your group.
The limitations will involve paying for the domain name, finding a host, finding a webmaster, and providing reliable information. These issues will stop many groups from considering this highly useful method.
➡ LEGO USERS GROUP – FANPAGE
Recently, social media sites have exploded in popularity. They have become a gateway for many people to explore the World Wide Web. Many of these networks, like Facebook, offer the ability to create a fanpage.
A fanpage offers many of the benefits of a webpage without the need for a high degree of technical knowledge. This means that one of the younger members of your LUG is a good candidate for setting up the fanpage.
The downside is that you must work in the restraints of the social media network. You have very limited options on deciding how information is presented. This may actually be a plus considering it will connect more easily with other elements in the network. You will just need to spend time creating those connections.
➡ LEGO USERS GROUP – WIKIPAGE
Wikipedia has shown the value of centralizing information. Now you can find a wiki-type site on nearly anything you can imagine. LUG entries are no different.
Wikipages provide a wonderful way to archive information that your group plans. This can include rules, pictures, schedules, and anything else your group can come up with.
The downside is that it offers little interactive elements. The extent of the interaction tends to take the form of comments. Sometimes even these can only be given with special permission. You will also find that these types of pages are not updated as often.
➡ LEGO USERS GROUP – GROUP PAGE
Most LUGs should have a group page. This is a wonderful way to continue conversations that are not covered in a LUG meeting. It also allows people to update one another on current events as they happen.
You can use a group page to store information, create private discussions within a group, and give a general way to contact each other. If you are starting up a LUG, this should be one of the first elements your club should look into.
There are literally dozens of ways to represent your LUG on the web. There is no right or wrong way to do it. The important fact is that you have reasons why you use a particular method. Without these reasons, your LUG may do harm to its image. 🙄
Here are some other tips for LEGO Users Groups you might like: