Meet-up: the good & the bad

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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”.

The good:

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.

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The bad:

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.





9 thoughts on “Meet-up: the good & the bad

  1. Meetup has a great potential in bringing local communities to voice thier concerns and recommendations effectively. I did not know either about number of groups that exists in my community in so many areas of interest.

  2. Great post! I also did not know about meet up either until this week. I got super excited and selected numerous focus groups that I am interested in and will go and attend one of the meet ups (hopefully during our week break lol). I read this week that to get around the fee for hosting a meetup some groups charge a small fee to attendees in order to cover the cost but in reality 12-20 bucks a month is not bad at all from a business owner/non-profit perspective if this will bring you volunteers to events. Great way to reach out and connect for sure.

  3. Kristie,
    We all got so excited about the “good” of the meetup that we totally overlooked the “bad”. You did a good job to bring up the costs of organizing the meetup event but I think the fact that the organizer is paying, makes that meetup more official and serious.

    • I agree with you, payment makes it more official. Something that I was on the fence about adding to my blog (which I didn’t) was the possibility of someone getting hurt, harassed, stalked or kidnapped as a result of joining a meetup. I didn’t really find any evidence of these things occurring, but certainly and unfortunately, the possibility is real.

  4. Good intro to a service I didn’t even know existed until this week! I think you address here the major issue facing any business trying to operate online: the dreaded Price Wall. So many different industries (most notably, newspapers) have struggled with how to make their online work profitable, and social media is no exception. Taking it from a different perspective, though, think about what a great deal this is if you’re a community organizer — your annual budget for meeting organization and marketing is about $150! Not too bad, in the grand scheme.

  5. MeetUp is one of those tools (like MySpace) that I had assumed was not popular any more, only to discover that millions of people are using it. I love the description in Shirkey’s Here Comes Everybody of the most popular MeetUp groups — pg 197 — in terms of most meetings and members. Witches, Bloggers, Pagans, Tori Amos fans, Vampires, Ex-Jahovah’s Witnesses… amazing. He talks a lot about what these groups have in common and why the list of groups that are the biggest users of online organizing are not at all typical like any other list of the most popular things in the USA.

    • The meetup groups are just so diverse, yet so specific. It really is amazing to see how people use this site to link up over such “random” topics that they are obviously passionate about.

  6. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you blogged about Meetup. I have not thought about meetup in quite a long time. I even forgot they existed. I love the idea of meetup, because it gets people away from the monitor and to the person. Thanks for writing this post! You have motivated me to go back to that site.

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