I’m really starting to enjoy Meetup.com. The way people are connecting locally, getting to know each other and hanging out. Meetup welcomes anyone to be part of any kind of event. Here in Japan, I hear people mentioning Meetup-events almost everyday. It’s all part of the sharing economy booming around the world – with crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and FundedbyMe, housesharing services like the beloved AirBnB, ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber, and not to forget dating apps like Tinder, connecting and supporting people in different ways around the globe.
On Meetup.com, I have both friends and colleagues that happily embrace the diversity of activities being offered by different individuals and organizations online. Be it cooking classes, language exchange meet-ups, or training sessions in Yoyogi park. There are hundreds of meet-ups taking place in Tokyo any given day.
Meetups are neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…
Maybe, it’s all about disconnecting digitally once in a while and connecting offline instead. During the past 10 years, we’ve become so accustomed to chatting with and getting to know unknown people digitally that we would never have gotten in contact with before. The concept about not talking to strangers doesn’t apply anymore; at least not when it’s on our own terms and in safe environments. The sharing-connecting movement is gradually moving us from the online forums to also connecting us offline. Helping us find other individuals that share the same interests as ourselves. And helping people to help people by offering different services.
When covering a story for Swedish digital marketing magazine Internetworld this spring, I was able to connect with the Bitcoin crowd through Meetup.com. And when connecting with the start-up crowd here in Tokyo, I’ve come across several good groups and some great individuals. Not to mention connecting with other freelancers running their own businesses within my field, to share advice and exchange experiences.
When in San Francisco earlier this fall, I also noticed how media industry organizations were using Meetup.com to invite people to their events. In planing a trip to connect with interesting people in the Bay Area, a first step was to check out Meetup.com and start searching for keywords of interests; in this case start-ups, Venture Capitalists, social media, and mobile apps. There are always interesting new people to be met!
If 2014 was the year when we seriously started seeing the sharing economy connecting people online and offline, I’m sure it’s only been the tip of the iceberg. For 2015, I expect even more smart services that look to connect people in all sorts of beneficial ways. Taking advantage of the power of the people. I think we will look beyond meet-ups, house-sharing, car-sharing and financial services, and see even more innovative and smart ways for people to create added value for each other, simply by sharing. And I’m sure that will come to be of very big interest, both for individuals and for businesses.