Making it easier for people to connect
Last year, someone asked me what my favourite app was and I said Meetup.
I wasn’t talking about the aesthetics or features of this product, though I found the App easy enough to use, but more about the concept and philosophy of Meetup and what it does. The clue is in the name; Meetup makes it easier for people to meet each other and in doing so; supports one of the most basic but important human needs we have; that is the need to form social relationships with other people.
As many of good ideas are, Meetup is a simple enough concept and is based on location and user interests. Members sign up, log their interests (whether they be personal or work related) and find groups related to their interests in their own local areas. Or if no such group exists, the member can start their own. The actual ‘meetups’ then happen off-line in whatever location the group owner decides to host the meeting. Its a simple but effective idea, and according to their website, Meetup now has over 30 million members who are part of 250,000 different groups worldwide. For me personally, I have been involved in quite a few differeent meetups over the last number of years and it definitely has had a positive impact on my life.
Every silver lining has a cloud…
However, Meetup went through a major overhaul about 6 months ago and I’ve got to say, some of the updates in the App are not entirely to my liking…
- First off, I don’t like the App’s new logo. Sorry but I just don’t get it. On one hand, I do think the old logo may have been outdated and this new one looks up-to-date and fresh. But what does it actually represent? According to the company, when this logo is animated and the dots jump around, this depicts a a sort of ‘swarm’ of people getting together, to represent the concept of the company. But to me, the new logo rather looks like a painting or design app. IMAO, the new logo does not convey ‘community or connection’. A bit of a missed opportunity methinks.
- Of bigger concern to me however, is the fact that in the new updates, it is more difficult to browse groups via the calendar. The reason being, as Scott Heiferman CEO and co-founder stated in a recent article, is that calendar functionality “does not reflect the real way people use Meetup”. He maintains it is more important to users to be able to browse by group type rather than by date. And as such the updated App now serves up more group recommendations based on users interesting and trending topics. Which is great but I miss the old calendar functionality where you could easily see what was going in your own area over the coming weeks.
It was easier in the old calender to see what what happening during the different days of the week e.g on a ‘Tuesday’ for example. All the events were grouped under that one day. Simples. In the new calendar I see the date but the day is really small, and events are not grouped under days but rather in a continuous list. This makes it much more difficult to quickly scan what is on going on Tuesday, for example. Frustrating.
But they are still the best and here’s why – the #Resist Campaign
“After Donald Trump’s order to block people on the basis of nationality and religion, a line had been crossed” Meetup Blog
Meetup say they are generally neutral and don’t get involved in politics (though some of the groups might be) but this month they changed that when they decided it was time to take a stance against Donald Trump and all he represents.
““We are Meetup, dammit! We needed to act” is what they told us in their blog. And act they did.
They “stopped normal operations for a company-wide hackathon (a “resist-a-thon”) to help people get involved. And they created 1,000+ #Resist Meetup Groups to act as local hubs for these actions of #truth #democracy #social justice. And whats more, they have heavily promoted these groups on their front pages via their website and App. And in case you missed that, they emailed all their members. And it seems to have worked and now more than 100,000 #resist members are involved.
Hats off to them, as they say, ‘a line has been crossed (prettty much every line!) and its great to see them make this stance for liberty, equality and freedom.
viva la resistance
Anyone can get involved at http://www.meetup.com