When Tina was first introduced to a book club Meetup by a friend, she said “I’m not going anywhere with strangers.” She then proceeded to have “one of the best experiences of my life,” adding “I am still friends with those strangers.” Today Tina is the proud organizer of the Double Dutch Lovers NYC Meetup, a community of women who come together to exercise and re-live childhood memories. One Saturday afternoon this summer, we grabbed our jump ropes and headed to Central Park to get in on the fun.
Jon Rosenthal signed up for Meetup on June 18, 2002, when he read about it on Slashdot. It was four days after Meetup launched, and Jon was the 278th member to register in New York City. Fast forward twelve years, Meetup is 1,000,000 members strong in NYC, and Jon is the awesome Organizer behind The Group That Shall Not Be Named: The NYC Harry Potter Meetup. We caught up with Jon to learn some more about his Meetup journey through the years, and, of course, to ask him some hard hitting questions about Harry Potter.
When Jon first came across Meetup in June 2002, the brand new company caught his interest. “It was pretty intriguing,” he recalls, “to use the internet as a means of getting people off the internet. Online forums are one thing, but this was taking it to another level, in a totally different direction. It seemed like a good way to have an excuse to go somewhere, to get you up and going.” He got up and going to his very first Meetup, a gathering of Slashdot readers, just a few weeks later. Jon remembers the night well. “To be honest, it was a little awkward,” he says with a laugh. “People were mingling as best as geeks can mingle, which is to say, not well. But a lot of people showed up. I remember thinking that it looked successful in my eyes, just because people showed up for it.”