I got an email today from Scott Heiferman, one of the founders of the site ‘Meetup’.
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 thing.
Meetup is totally oriented towards planning in-person group activities rather than catching up online, and I like the features it doesn’t have almost as much as those it does. You can’t create a really complex profile, private message other people, or post a bunch of status updates.
The people you meet are often very open and friendly; it doesn’t take long before they stop feeling like strangers.
Meetup really is an online network that exists to help people connect in real-life groups on a local level – the first of it’s kind. To see that it grew the way that it had made me an even more proud user of the website.