Let's Have a Meetup!
If social isolation is your problem, virtual relationships are not going to solve it. Smiley-faces are no substitute for real, human smiles. A computer monitor may be your window to the world, but the eyes are the window to another’s soul. No social network provides the quality of interpersonal experience that in-the-flesh social gatherings do. Read on to learn about an online service that's bringing people together in the real world...
What is Meetup.com?
In July 2014, BusinessWeek magazine reported that the average American spent 40 minutes a day on Facebook – more time than was spent caring for pets (but just barely). The more time you spend on Facebook, the more ads it can show you and the more money it makes. In fact, most social networks are focused on keeping you glued to your computer screen, and that is unhealthy in many ways.
Meetup.com is not exactly a social network, though it has many of the trappings of one. It’s more of a crowd-sourced social directory service. Meetup isn't a dating service, either. Its essence is, “Hey, who wants to meet up and do this?”
The goal of joining Meetup.com is to spend as little time on Meetup.com as possible; you’re supposed to find groups of people who share your interests and go meet them in real life. The Meetup.com experience reflects this emphasis.
When you register on Meetup.com you are encouraged to specify as many interests as you wish. You can also set a maximum distance that you’re willing to travel to attend a Meetup event. Based on this information, Meetup will suggest a number of Groups in which you may be interested. Even before you register, the Meetup home page uses your IP address to get a rough sense of your geographic location, and highlights the most popular groups in your area.
A Group is similar to a Facebook Community. Members who join a Group receive email or SMS invitations to Meetups. They can post in the Group’s public forum; trade private messages with other Group members; and share photos or documents with the Group.
Every Group Needs an Organizer
A Group is created by an Organizer who sets the agendas, times, and locations of the Group’s Meetups. The Organizer pays Meetup.com a monthly fee of $10 to $40 per Group, depending on the number of members, co-organizers, and the promotional assistance (i. e., ranking in Meetup.com search results) desired. See? I told you Meetup.com wasn’t exactly a social network. Who would pay for Facebook or Twitter?
Nearly all Organizers charge a nominal fee to attendees of their offline Meetups to cover the cost of maintaining a Group and any costs of Meetup events, i. e., art supplies, tickets to a museum, books, venue rental, etc. Most Meetup fees are only five to ten bucks, with some going up to $30.
The one thing an Organizer cannot charge for is his or her own “professional services.” Meetup.com frowns upon $100+ investment seminars, for example. Organizers may use low-cost Meetups to give attendees a sample of their higher-priced services, but blatant sales pitches do not fare very well in the long term.
Today on Meetup, I see a local group called "Hackers and Makers" for those who are interested in "making, hacking, tinkering, electronics, 3d printing, raspberry pi and other technology." But it's not all about the geekery. I know people who have used Meetup to find others who are interested in board games and book clubs. It's also popular with musicians, sports fans who want to watch their favorite team together, photography buffs, hikers and dog walkers.
Feedback and Followup
Attendees are asked (practically nagged, really) to provide feedback on their recent Meetup experiences. Feedback can be as simple as rating the venue, the event, and the Organizer on a 1 to 5 stars scale, or a thorough review that is posted for all to see. Organizers cannot alter or delete attendees’ feedback.
If you’re new in town and looking to make friends (even if only for happy hour), or if you have a specialized interest and people who share it are hard to find, Meetup.com is ideal for you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, Meetup.com will tell you how many members in your area are also looking for it and encourage you to start your own Meetup to serve that interest.
Have you attended a Meetup event? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Jan 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Let's Have a Meetup! (Posted: 23 Jan 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved