Post #2 – Hey! Let’s Meetup!

Posted on October 21, 2012


Reading Lindzon’s article “How Meetup Helps Online Communities In The Real World” was the first time I ever heard of Meetup. I had my Zero Moment of Truth with Meetup and Googled it, and it was the first result on Google (now that’s effective search marketing!).

I had a good first impression from the site. It listed Meetup groups in the Ottawa area, making it convenient for visitors to see the type of events and social groups in the city. It is user-friendly with the “Find a Meetup Group” and “Start a Meetup Group” tools on the top left corner. Meetup is easy to navigate through and well organized with categories of different interests listed on the left. It features an extended page length, similar to Tumblr, which allows users to keep scrolling down instead of uploading a new page. Pottsdown Patch refers the look as a “digital bulletin board” as users post their events.

Unlike Facebook and many other social networking websites, Meetup is about getting users to meet in real life to build relationships rather than doing so virtually.  CEO Scott Heiferman believes that Meetup’s main objective is “helping people who use the Internet to get off the Internet”.

Meetup is a local service, says VP of Strategy & Community Andres Glusman, and it has been local businesses that have really benefited from this social networking. People in communities can use Meetup as they start a local business or want to learn something new (e.g. how to knit) from others who live right in their city.

The big picture surrounding Meetup is about fostering communities. Being a part of a community gives oneself a sense of fulfillment and integration and allows you to build connections with other people. In a blog post called “On the Importance of Being Part of a Group”, Jeremy Day writes:

“It isn’t right for us to be alone. We live in community. We thrive in community. We are born alone and we die alone, yet while we are on this Earth we are in community. Community helps bring meaning to our lives. Working and playing with our fellow human beings is what brings the most meaning to our lives.”

However, Statistics Canada has shown that 35% of Canadians do not feel a strong sense of belonging in their community. These feelings often seem to arise in large cities and this phenomena has been dubbed “urban alienation”. An article called “The Fading Sense of Community” analyzed Vancouverites and found that there was an increased feeling of loneliness and isolation. Meetup alleviates this problem because it wants users to join in on what is happening in their community.

I really like this idea. I have become more conscious about how I spend my time and I wonder at times if what I am doing is giving value in my life. As I browsed the website, I saw many different kinds of meetups that I’d be interested in, including “Arts & Culture Junkies of Ottawa”. Matt Massaro says “there are meetups for just about anything.” It is certainly refreshing to see a social networking service that is connecting people in the more traditional sense.