2013 was a good year for R User Group Meetings

December 4, 2013
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

by Joseph Rickert

R user groups are thriving. By our count of events listed on Revolution Analytics' Community Calendar, there were about 441 face-to-face R meetups worldwide in 2013; up 41% from 312 in 2012. The plot below indicates what the activity looks like on a monthly basis.

  RUG_Meetings_2012_2013
(Download the data and R code behind this chart here.)

My take is that user group meetings are doing well because they fulfill basic social and educational needs. I have come to believe that people attend R user group meetings for four main reasons:

  1. to enjoy themselves socializing with people who have a common and maybe a bit esoteric interest
  2. to learn something new about R that they mitght not otherwise encounter in their everyday work environment
  3. to talk about technical ideas in statistics, machine learning and programing that they find exciting
  4. to feel like they are connected in the R world

This last reason illustrates a curious aspect of in person meetings: no matter how much effort you may put into being connected with email, blogs and social media, in a room full of people who share a common interest you are bound to learn something new.

Looking forward to 2014, what can we do to make next year’s meetups even better? If you are an organizer here are a few ideas that you may find helpful:

If you enjoy attending R User Group meetings then, please consider giving a talk at your local R user group in 2014. Even if you are an absolute R beginner, what better professionally related New Year’s resolution could you aspire to than working towards a short R talk? My guess is that you will find your fellow group members to be very supportive. 

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