Community / Start a community / Starter guide

Twitter Developer Community starter guide

How do I start a new community?

Getting a local group set up is easy. If interested, you'll first meet with our Community Management and Dev Advocacy team to make sure interests and goals align. We are looking for individuals passionate about building communities, and ideally about Twitter's tools, too. If you are selected to lead a group, we'll then get you set up with an organizer on Meetup.com and will reach out to provide consultations on how to get started.

How do I share the tasks associated with planning events?

It is highly recommended that you recruit a co-organizer to help you with the group. You can share the duties evenly or take turns arranging events. You may also wish to have Assistant Organizers that are responsible for things like social media at events, taking photos, checking people in, getting food, etc. Having multiple people involved in the group administration is a great way to ensure an active community.

It is also a way to make them more involved in the community and for you to focus more on getting great content and speakers.

Where should we host our events?

Many groups host their events in an office space, a meeting room, or other open area with projector capabilities. Others meet in local pubs, restaurants, or coffee shops. You'll want a space with good wifi and projection capabilities (if desired). Libraries and schools are acceptable too.

When looking for a venue, make sure it can accommodate 70-80% of your RSVP count.

You can also reach out to (local) startups & incubators in your area who can provide you with space for meetups, dojos, or hackathons in return for a mention on the Meetup site or Twitter. They can also sometimes sponsor the meetup.

Reach out to companies that may have interest in supporting a user group. If we have a Twitter office where you are located, we are happy to offer our space to host — just make sure to contact twitterdevcommunities@twitter.com if interested. A growing trend is for companies to allow free access to their spaces because it will benefit their own brand awareness and the developer community at large.

How do we fund our group's activities?

Twitter will reimburse up to a certain amount per quarterly meetup. You can use this for facility rental, food and beverage, and event execution. This is done via a reimbursement process — you will need to cover expenses up front and then submit receipts for approval. We'll also keep you supplied with some Twitter swag (e.g., stickers/pins) once your community grows, that you can share with your group to keep things fun and engaging.

You may also obtain sponsorship from other companies to cover costs. Be careful when partnering with companies on a sponsorship. Make it clear the expectations ahead of time, and what the sponsor will get as a result of their money. It is usually best to have the company pay for a specific portion of the meeting and have them pay it directly rather than reimburse you. If the company writes you a check, they may report it to the IRS or to the tax department in your country and you'd be responsible for paying taxes on it. Sponsors may want a speaking spot at a meeting. Make sure it isn't a sales pitch (see audience below).

Who is the audience for these events?

Developers. No matter their experience level (and you'll find all will attend your meetups), you'll want to schedule speakers and content that appeals to developers, CTOs, product managers. No sales pitches. Developers want to hear from other developers. It's fair game to have someone present on a product they built so long as the focus of that presentation is on how it was built and what was learned — NOT on how awesome the end product is.

Usually the audience is composed of both experienced and beginner developers using or interested in Twitter's developer platform, so it's best if you have content that can appeal to both categories during the initial phases of the developer group.

Hosting Quarterly Events

In order to be considered an "active" developer group, you should host your group on a minimum quarterly basis. There are prizes and opportunities in store for active developer group leaders.

What should we talk about? How should we talk about it?

Anything related to Twitter Development, ideally. Most groups have 2-3 speakers present on various topics and then have time for Q&A and networking. Other groups have started study sessions and workshops, and held hack sessions. You're free to experiment and pick the format that works best for you and your group.

Occasionally, groups host a purely social event for networking, attracting new members or celebrating something big (new release, summer outing at a baseball game or just for fun). This is especially useful for new groups as it's "not scary" for some would-be developers and will help you get a sense of the potential size of the group and share the vision of what people can expect from the group going forward.

How do I find and support speakers/facilitators for our events?

Many organizers feel like they must present at every session. This is not the case. You should encourage your community to present as well, and take a lead in developing content. Everyone has something to share, even if it's just talking through a project they're working on.

Lightning talks as an introductory session are also sometimes helpful. 15-30 minutes can be intimidating—try suggesting 5-10 minutes at times to encourage participation.

Twitter employee speakers are sometimes available to speak to your group. When possible we will connect you with members of the team who may be able to visit you.

What happens at the event? What's the timeline of events?

Every group will have a different meeting flow, but most organizers hold their meetings in the evening, starting around 6-6:30pm. Meetings typically last 2-3 hours and consist of a presentation and networking time. Give yourself no less than 3 weeks lead time to promote the meeting and have members RSVP.

Get to your event venue early to set up. Test wifi, projection, and let any building security know to send attendees to your area. Set up a spot for check-in and another for food and drink.

For a general outline of an event, consider this timeline:

  1. Greet members as they arrive. If you're an introvert, ask a more social co-organizer to greet people for you. Consider having each member briefly introduce themselves as the meeting begins (especially if the group is smaller). Introduce yourself and your speaker.
  2. Enjoy the presentation. Encourage attendees to ask questions and start discussion.
  3. Optionally you can also host an un-conference where anyone can suggest a topic/problem faced, and the group can discuss it—this works best when the meetup group is smaller.
  4. Thank speakers and attendees for coming to your meeting.
  5. Tweet and periscope the event using #TapIntoTwitter and encourage the members to Tweet out their thoughts during meetup as well - you can award the most creative / informative Tweet with a special swag.
How can we create a record of our event to share with our community?

Tweet @TwitterDev (we'll often RT your developer group Tweets.)

Tweet using the hashtag #TapIntoTwitter

Take lots of pictures—perhaps designate an assistant organizer to be responsible for this and to share on social media (esp. Twitter, Periscope. Remember you can attach images and video to Tweets.)

Write a blog post recap after the event (mentioning hashtag), and Tweet about it. We can Retweet you and promote from various Twitter-owned channels.

Ask speakers to post their slides online on Slideshare after the event.

Keep a record of how many individuals attend and what topics they want to see next.

How can we share our event with a larger audience?

We highly suggest you Periscope (i.e. broadcast) the event, so anyone in the world can take part in the conversation. Learn more at https://www.periscope.tv/.

What happens after the event ends? How do I promote what happened at the event?

After the event you may wish to write up the meeting on a blog post and share with your wider network. If you had a speaker present, ask them to share their slides after the event so you can distribute those to your group for their reference in the future.

Growing your community

As your group gets started we will help you market the group via our email marketing activities. We'll make sure all developers in our network in your area are aware of your group.

You should also take advantage of the email capabilities from your Meetup.com group. Members will get announcements of new events, reminders to RSVP, and can also opt in to receive special announcements you send.

How can we grow attendance and community using websites and social media?

We of course recommend you start by building your community on Twitter and Periscope, however, you're able to set up a social media presence on any sites you wish to use. We search #TapIntoTwitter on a daily basis so please make sure to reference the hashtag and @TwitterDev when Tweeting so we can retweet to help market your community to more followers. This can be helpful for getting the word out about upcoming events and communicating with your members. We can also help you with an upcoming event post in the "News and Events" category of our developer forums.

Connect with and learn from technology experts and community leaders worldwide.

In addition to connecting with each other via meetup.com and on Twitter, we created a closed forum just for you as community leads to ask questions and give suggestions within twittercommunity.com. Please sign in with your Twitter username and share with twitterdevcommunities@twitter.com so that we can grant you access. We would love for more community leads to share their agendas, blog posts, what worked, and some of the innovative and cool ideas you come up with.