What Is a Macintosh User Group

Macintosh User Groups (MUGs) are many things to many people. They range from a few friends who get together to share experiences and expertise, to organized community gatherings, to global organizations dedicated to the relentless pursuit of Mac excellence.

There is no one solid definition which encompasses all MUGs. There are a few common characteristics which they all share—enthusiasm for Apple Computer and the Macintosh, the desire to get more out of their computers, and the desire to learn are among the dominant themes.

It is also important to note that, while there is no official qualification or process to declare your group a MUG, Apple does have some basic requirements in order to be considered an Apple-authorized MUG.

In very broad terms, here are some categories of Macintosh User Groups:

Community Groups
Centered around a geographic location such as a town or city, membership in community MUGs is usually open to the public. This is the single largest category of Macintosh User Groups.

Government and Corporate
Membership in this type of MUG is usually restricted to members of the entity involved. These MUGs may be officially sponsored by their “parent organization,” or they may be unofficial groups who only have in common their affiliation with the parent.

K-12 and Higher Education
While usually oriented towards education and teaching-related topics involving the Macintosh, these can also be unofficial, unsponsored MUGs who have the school or university in common. Campus MUGs fall into this category.

This unique type of group exists only via email and/or the Internet. A few general-interest online-only groups exist, but most are focused on a product, profession, or specialty, and membership is limited by the focus.

Limited in scope, this MUG category focuses solely on Macintosh use within the indicated profession i.e. doctor, dentist, etc. Membership may be open or restricted, but the nature of the group limits the interest you might have in joining.

Software Specific
This type of MUG is organized around the use of a specific piece of software, or category of software. Examples might include a QuickTime VR MUG or the AppleWorks User Group.

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