Once viewed as techno-geek clubs, Mac User Groups, or MUGs, have evolved into amazingly useful support opportunities for Mac neophytes, seasoned users, and Windows switchers. A MUGis best advertising tool is word-of-mouth, which is also its Achilles heal: If you arenit lucky enough to bump in to a MUG member, youire not likely to find out about their meetings. Luckily, there are some resources available to help make easy work of finding the right MUG for you.
Apple Computer maintains a MUG section on its Web site. Apple maintains a registry of user groups from around the world in an easy to search database. A quick zip-code search for 80120, the zip-code for the Aspen Grove Apple Store, revealed nine groups within 100 miles, including the MacinTech Users Group, Denver Apple Pi, and the Colorado Macintosh Users Group, where I regularly speak.
The MUG Center
The MUG Center is the nexus of Mac User Groups. This site hosts a bevy of news about the Mac community, information on how to build and maintain a MUG, as well as information about upcoming MUG meeting events from around the world. Chuck Joiner, the brains behind MacVoices and MacNotables, guides The MUG Center so that it always contains timely and relevant information for Mac users, MUG members, and MUG leaders everywhere.
Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a MUG-rich area, so Apple also maintains a long list of online only groups. Freed from geographic boundaries, these MUGS let anyone, anywhere, become a part of the user group community.
MUGs are a valuable resource in the Mac community, offering training, product demonstrations, technical support, and much more. Many even maintain email lists or chat boards, letting members stay in touch and help each other out between meetings.
Paying a visit to your local MUG is something everyone should try at least once. And, like me, you may find that it is far more than a techno-geek club.