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Posted on 03.13.2012

The Path to Greatness is Along with Others – Now Go MeetUp!

A friend of mine and I met up for dinner after work the other night. It was the first warm evening of spring and we were soaking up the last hour of sunlight on the patio at a nearby restaurant. My friend, Jami, commented on how we hadn’t caught up in weeks and wondered what had been keeping me so busy. As I began chatting about book club meetings and indoor rock climbing, early morning yoga and weekend brunch gatherings, she stared back bewildered. “Who are you doing all of these things with?” Jami asked. “When did you meet all of these people and where?” “With my MeetUp groups,” I replied. “Meetup.com is a website that lets you create, find and join social groups.” Through the website, local communities of people who share the same interest or involvement in a cause coordinate “meet ups” and attend events together. The groups have monthly, often weekly, activities that you can join to make friends, have fun, network, and learn. Last month, my co-workers and I went to happy hour with the MeetUp group PR Flacks for public relations professionals. “That’s great for you, but I don’t really need to go to MeetUp groups,” Jami interjected. “I have enough friends!” “Oh, so I guess you don’t really need to network, either?” Networking – a key factor in almost any industry. She bit her tongue; I had her there. It’s a common misconception and something I’ve heard frequently while trying to explain the value of MeetUps to friends. MeetUps aren’t just a way to meet people who share your interests or find new hobbies – although these were my main reasons for joining MeetUps when I first moved to Nashville. MeetUps can help you build connections, make new friends, and expand your professional contacts within and beyond your industry. If you’re a business marketing professional in Nashville, there are all sorts of groups you may be interested in: Business Strategy & Networks; Content Strategies; Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing; and Nashville Area Business Networking, to name a few. Or, as I mentioned earlier, PR Flacks is a great MeetUp for industry professionals. With more than 250 members, the group describes its MeetUps as a place “to talk shop, share beverages, laugh, learn and meet your fellow public relations and communications peers.” It’s so easy to sign up for MeetUp and start joining groups and events. In fact, once you start filling up your calendar it can become a little addicting. Have a look around the site and check out the MeetUps in your area. You can sign up for email alerts each time a new event is announced for one of your groups, so you’re always the first to know about events. If you have a great idea for a MeetUp group, you can even start your own. Lovell’s social media strategist, Scott McIntosh, created his group two years ago using the site. Scott founded NashvilleTech in August 2009 as a way for people interested in internet and technology to come together to share ideas about the technology driving today’s world. Members of the group discuss topics like social media, marketing, graphic design, promotion and business, and other fun web stuff. More than 500 members have joined the group and there have been 24 MeetUps to date. How else can MeetUp benefit you? The groups are a great way to mix up your normal routine. It’s easy to run with the same crowd week after week, but with MeetUp groups, you meet people from all walks of life, including those who share your passions! A while back, my co-worker Sarahwrote a post titled “Start Blogging and Share Your Passions” and I think MeetUps are kind of the same thing. Not only are they a great way to share (and even discover) your passions, they are a wonderful way to meet others who share those passions. As the Spanish prose writer Baltasar Gracion once said, “The path to greatness is along with others.” Now go MeetUp!

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