Status Update: Meetup is Taking the Web Outside

We really have come to that point, haven’t we. We would rather deal with pesky spam and blinding monitors than have to actually get up and meet someone in person. At best, we are introduced face to face but end up going home and learning more than you’d ever need to know about their favorite books! and what are they doing! through their Facebook profile and Twitter feed. Some of us could easily spend 12 hours a day buried in our virtual-reality, myself guilty as well. Human interaction is being forcibly redefined into something incredibly detailed yet so disconnected. How do we close this gap?

Thank the milkman for organizations like Meetup.com. Meetup is taking initiative to bring us back to the real world. Their organization provides a door through which we can return home. I have to admire and respect their purpose because it is so aligned to our own. I highly advocate stepping outside of your usual comfort zone to pursue your creative impulses. Sometimes our professional careers don’t allow for the kind of creativity we yearn for, and it is really difficult to discover an outlet, let alone the motivation it takes. So having tools like Meetup.com allow us to take our ideas and do something productive with them.

Now, I know it’s a difficult step to take. We are all so used to the convenience of meeting on the web that it seems like a waste of time and energy to meet in the flesh. I established my adolescent understanding of basic social skills solely through secret three-way telephone calls (where the one person held the mute button and eavesdropped on whether or not you kissed Lori Anderson after school), gossip via notes in class (slambooks were so hot back them), and obligatory robot hugs in the hallways. Such diffusion of communication was the only kind of connection I knew how to make. And when ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger came around, oh BOY oh BOY. I didn’t have to worry about REAL CONNECTION ANY MORE. They couldn’t see me blush, I didn’t have to check myself in the mirror, and I could take as long as I want to write and rewrite what I wanted to say! And needless to say, that’s how I learned how to type. tap tap!

But it’s not about what’s easy, is it. It’s about having making meaningful connection with your your world. It’s through reaching outside that you find out more about yourself. I believe in the magic of collaboration because I have seen, time and time again, the great inspiration that comes from a simple conversation between two people. When you take the best of two ideas, the outcome is twice as great. A pretty neat formula. Take that, Einstein!

And now I prompt you: how did you establish your social interaction skills? If you have not yet any ownership of social skills set, I recommend Meetup.com as a starting point. AND they have an awesome little stop motion short film that beautifully addresses this exact dilemma we face today.

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