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Saturday, 12 January 2008

Whither Singapore's Internet grassroots organisations?

After attending the Singapore PHP User Group meeting, I started thinking, "What has happened to all of the other Internet grassroots groups?" It seemed like such groups, or at least the ones that I knew of, had either died or gone into extended hibernation. Which is a shame because it doesn't bode well for the future of such organisations.

Today, I did a mental checklist of the groups that I'm familiar with.

  1. (ok, not strictly a group, though it was organised by the folks at
    Objective: To promote the local blogosphere and educate Singaporeans about it
    Conceived as an annual conference, nothing happened after the first one in 2005. There was talk of another in middle or late 2007, but that was just it -- talk.
  2. Web Standards Group (WebSG)
    Objective: To encourage web designers/developers to use Web standards in their work for cross platform compatibility
    This was apparently the third incarnation of the group when I joined. Unfortunately, the "phoenix" burned up after the third meeting. I attempted to restart things, but was met with a deafening silence.
  3. The Digital Movement
    Objective: To build a community of Web 2.0 and social media leaders
    This one-year-old group had organised three events in 2007 with apparent success. And then... nothing (unless it organised PopOut! in October). Besides, I'm out of the picture too. I was involved in one meeting, but felt shafted after that for offering dissenting views.
  4. Mac Meetup
    Objective: To bring Mac users together to discuss Apple news and provide support
    The original group died after Meetup ended its free services. A second group was started and I attended some of its meetings, but it died again because of cost. The original group is supposed to live on through a blog, but I haven't heard of any more offline events.
And there you have it: four grassroots groups that have seemingly died. I don't count because the people who are actively involved are more like friends who organise get-togethers informally. The only one formal event it had was to celebrate the website's first anniversary.

Of course, I realise that some naysayers would say that I jinxed all of these groups, since I participated in them. Hmm, if that's true, then that's bad news for the Singapore PHP User Group...


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