Meetup’s mission is to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference”.
This social media website has awesome capabilities of connecting people over shared interests, who live within the same community. This was my first time using Meetup, and after selecting my interests, I was shocked at the massive number of Meetups available all within five miles of where I live. I signed up for mostly fitness,nutrition, wellness, and yoga groups and there were 373 meetups fitting my interests. 373!!!! WOW!!!
In our digital world, the idea of having a face to face interaction is refreshing, and to put the icing on the cake, you will be meeting up over a shared interest. Finding a way to form this kind of connection with others is exciting. I always find it empowering to talk to people with like interests, so I can only imagine how powerful it must be to see people coming together for a meetup.
In the public health world, this is a recipe for success. Having the ability to mobilize communities and to expand upon community engagement is key if we want to create change and to promote health.
To join a meetup as a member is free, however, to be an organizer costs money. There is a monthly fee from anywhere for $12-$19/month, depending on the number of months you are signing up for. For organizers, I can see this being a turn-off. There are other websites similar to this, that are completely free.
A little background, when the company started in 2002, it was completely free to all. When creators changed it to fee based structure for organizers after the first three years of business, there was a huge amount of backlash,activity dropped by 95%. Some even surmised that the company would go under within a year. However, they survived, and thrived, illustrating why this social media outlet is important: people want to connect with other people. To drive the point home, there are roughly 2 million Meetups a year worldwide.
Below is a film clip of Meetup founder Scott Heiferman discussing the company dealt with bad press.
All in all, this a powerful tool to connect people over shared interests.