In the previous section I focused exclusively on what LUGs do and should do. This section's focus shifts to practical strategies.
There are, despite permutations of form, two basic things LUGs do: First, members meet in physical space; second, they communicate in cyberspace. Nearly everything LUGs do can be seen in terms of meetings and online resources.
As I said above, physical meetings are synonymous with LUGs (and most user groups). LUGs have these kinds of meetings:
What do LUGs do at these meetings?
The commercial rise of the Internet coincided roughly with that of GNU/Linux; the latter owes something to the former. The 'Net has always been important to development. LUGs are no different: Most have Web pages, if not whole Web sites. In fact, I'm not sure how else to find a LUG, but to check the Web.
It makes sense, then, for a LUG to make use of whatever Internet technologies they can: Web sites, mailing lists, wikis, ftp, e-mail, Web discussion forums, netnews, etc. As the world of commerce is discovering, the 'Net is an effective way to advertise, inform, educate, and even sell. The other reason LUGs make extensive use of Internet technology is that the very essence of GNU/Linux is to provide a stable and rich platform to deploy these technologies. So, not only do LUGs benefit from, say, establishment of a Web site, because it advertises their existence and helps organise members, but, in deploying these technologies, LUG members learn about them and see GNU/Linux at work.
Arguably, a well-maintained Web site is the one must-have, among those Internet resources. My essay Recipe for a Successful Linux User Group, for that reason, spends considerable time discussing Web issues. Quoting it (in outline form):
That essay partly supplements (and partly overlaps) this HOWTO.
Some LUGs using the Internet effectively:
Please let me know if your LUG uses the Internet in an important or interesting way; I'd like this list to include your group.