After September 11 in 2001 in New York strangers started saying hello to each other. There was a yearning for community, says Matt Meeker, co-founder of Meetup. Today meetup.com facilitates off-line group meetings on any imaginable topic, now in 101 countries.
Generally, I’m not a joiner of groups, especially if there’s even a sniff of agendas, minutes, and traditional meeting procedure. Nor am I a fan of meetings per se. They tend to be a way for people in organisations to legitimately gather together, and looking in from the outside, seem to be out of control. I know people whose days are just full of meetings, and their email full of meeting notifications. They complain about these meetings. A lot.
Compare that with a Meetup. There’s an invitation, a host, and one or more featured presenters of a particular topic that is described in quite a bit of detail. The ones I attend start and finish on time. I can see how many other people are attending and who they are. There’s often a follow-up post with pictures and further information. There might also be an accompanying Yammer discussion leading up to and after the Meetup.
Imagine if organisations created internal Meetups instead of meetings.