Friday, September 09, 2011

Growing the NoVA Forensics Meetup

I received an email today from Tim/@bug_bear asking about the format that we use for the NoVA Forensic Meetups, as he may be looking at starting something in his area. In responding, I started thinking about what we currently do, and whether or not we're "serving" our members.  What I'm looking at is what we can do to get folks interested in attending and interacting, more so than we have now.

One of the things I've noticed about the meetings is that we have a very small core of regulars...folks who can make it out on a regular basis.  We do have folks who happen to be in the area for another event and stop by, which is very cool...this last meetup, we had some folks from a defense contractor, one of whom is a former Marine.

So I thought I'd share some thoughts I had on expanding the meetups, and see if we can't get some feedback or additional thoughts and comments from others on what we can do to expand, so that we're not just doing the same thing every time.

I'd like to see something more than just presentations; our presentations have been very good, and I greatly appreciate everyone who has (and will be) stepped up to give a presentation.  But I'd also like to see about maybe getting a little more interactive and offer some additional value to our members.  To that end, I'd like to get some input from the members

Some other ideas I've had, in part from my exchange with Tim, include:

Collaborative projects - Tim mentioned this, and I think that the idea has some very good possibilities.  One of the aspects of ReverseSpace that our hosts remind us of is that they have something of a network infrastructure themselves.  However, this doesn't have to be the sole avenue for collaborative projects; all it takes is the desire.  Thoughts?  Ideas?

Wiki - this is also something that Tim brought up that I thought might be interesting.  Taking nothing at all away from the ForensicsWiki, there are resources such as WikiSpaces available, as well.

Mentoring - our membership includes a number of folks who are interested in forensics, but perhaps don't "do" it, or do it on a regular basis.  We also have members who have other and system admins, IDS analysts, etc.  We've had folks attend who do online investigations, as well as various levels (local, state, federal) LE.  There are folks who specialize in or just work with Mac, Linux or Windows systems, as well as mobile devices.  What I like about all this is that we have folks from a range of backgrounds who are willing to answer questions.  "Mentoring" doesn't have to be anything more than someone is willing to provide.

Lightning talks - I've thought about this before; instead of having one 45-50 minute presentation, have two (or more) shorter ones, just covering very specific, limited topics.  Speaking of which, the ReverseSpace (our hosts) folks have hosted DojoCon at their location; what would be the interest in a ForensiCon?  I've noticed online that there are a number of conferences that have moved to a combination of talks, lightning talks, and even panels, and have been very successful.  We may be able do something like this on a Saturday during the messy winter weather, but it would really depend on what sort of attendance we could get.

Logo - Would it be cool if we had a logo?  I'd put up either a signed copy of DFwOST (signed by both authors) or of WRF to whomever comes up with the winning logo design, if we have folks who want to design a logo that our membership could vote on.

I'd like to get input from our membership, as well as from anyone else who has some thoughts along these lines.

Something else I will be doing going forward is sending out reminders via other media besides just this blog; I'll be pushing more reminders out via the Win4n6 group, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  Also, I'll be sure to bring these topics up during the admin/intro portion of our next meetup.


Anonymous said...

You need better advertising. I live just a couple miles away from where you are having these meetings, yet it took me asking 6 people and googling for 30 minutes to find the location. And even then, I didn't know when the next meeting was. Everybody seems to know you have these meetings, but no one knows when or where.

Keydet89 said...

Thanks for the comment...I suspected as much. I include a page with all of the information on my blog, yet folks still seem to have trouble...

Keydet89 said...

So...any thoughts besides, "you need better advertising"? As in, what's missing? What could be done better?