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The site got a huge boost in 2004 when Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean used Meetup for his local grassroots organizing.Today, hosts groups in towns and cities around the world.Once I’d picked a few groups, all I had to do was click “join” on the group’s page.Some groups require approval by the organizer; unless you’re a serial killer, you’ll get an approval by email in a day or two.Despite the age gap (I’m 72), everyone was extremely friendly – nobody gave me the “invisible” treatment – and the book I nominated was chosen, which amazed me since no one knew me and it’s a pretty esoteric book (“The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker.) I networked madly.I announced I wanted to move to Florida and needed a realtor, and of course there was a realtor in the group (every group has a realtor) who happened to be one of the older members and from New York.Some also require that you fill out an introduction telling the group who you are and why you want to join. Like other sites these days that assume you’re a digital native, instead of clearly labeled links, Meetup shows you little icons and you have to figure out what they mean.
The site launched after 9/11, when New Yorkers were coming together on the ground for solace and mutual support; Meetup’s founders saw a need – an an opportunity – for a site that would let people create groups and find one another around shared interests or concerns.
In her Aging With Geekitude series, self-professed “recovering technophobe” Erica Manfred writes about her adventures with technology and shares what she’s learned as she navigates the not-so-scary waters.
Everyone has been telling me how brave I am to rent a place in South Florida all by myself for three months this winter despite knowing nary a soul.
Meetup #2: Book club success There was no such problem with my second foray to the “The Fort Lauderdale Girl-Time Book Club.” I’d been wanting to join a book club near my home in upstate New York for a long time and even had tried starting one with no success, but this group had been meeting for many years and had over 100 members, 32 of whom showed up to the January meeting to nominate book choices for the coming year.
They were mostly young women in their 20s to 40s with a few in their 50s.
Meetup #3: Movie & dinner My next Meetup was “The Women’s Movie and Book Club,” which had scheduled a screening of the movie “Selma” and dinner. I sat next to two Federal prosecutors from Palm Beach, one originally from Brooklyn, both of whom I never would have met any other way.