Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Meetup Email

Meetup is a business, but I think it is less profit-driven business than internet dating. And the nice thing about Meetup is that it does exactly "what it says on the tin" (a ubiquitous Edinburgh expression): you join complete strangers for an activity you all profess to enjoy for a small pay-as-you-go fee. It's not about dating, romance or wish-fulfillment. It's about meeting up.

When I was Single, working and living far from my family and most of my friends, I felt very lonely in the evenings and longed for somewhere to go--somewhere safe where I could go by myself. My two choices were the local young artists' hangout (long since closed, alas) and the gym. There were no meet-ups before 2001, and I had no idea how they started until I got this email:

From: Meetup
To: ********
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 2:11:17 AM
Subject: 9/11 & us

Fellow Meetuppers,

I don't write to our whole community often, but this week is
special because it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many
people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles
from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought
local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet
and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I
hoped they wouldn't bother me.

When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors
in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to
neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they'd normally
ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each
other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being

A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring
people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was
born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet -- and
grow local communities?

We didn't know if it would work. Most people thought it was a
crazy idea -- especially because terrorism is designed to make
people distrust one another.

A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months
after 9/11.

Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it's
working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups,
Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups... a wild variety of
100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common -- except one

Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to
neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and
motivate each other, they babysit each other's kids and find
other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace
together. They make friends and form powerful community. It's
powerful stuff.

It's a wonderful revolution in local community, and it's thanks
to everyone who shows up.

Meetups aren't about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it
weren't for 9/11.

9/11 didn't make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn't rip us apart. No, we're building new
community together!!!!

The towers fell, but we rise up. And we're just getting started
with these Meetups.

Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
September 2011


Anne said...

I love Meetup! I use it all the time. Hiking groups, dining out, movies..... I think it's a fantastic idea.

Little Mary said...

As more and more of my friends enter the family phase, I've had to get more daring with finding additional friends and acquaintances that have lives with a similar rhythm to mine... I joined an independent film meetup and have really enjoyed it... definitely has helped me in being a happy single.

Eowyn said...

THANK YOU, Seraphic! I had no idea this existed! Well done, you may have just changed my life.

berenike said...

Shouldn't that be "Fellow Up-meeters"?

The Crescat said...

I love meetup too!