Putting the power of Meetup to work for Organizations
For years, companies and organizations have wanted to use the Meetup platform to build community around their brand. Today, we’re thrilled to announce a new product offering that allows companies to meaningfully engage with their fans and followers in real life: Meetup Pro.
Meetup Pro helps organizations transform their audience into a community. Now organizations can manage, grow and measure face to face engagement with their fans and followers.
With Meetup Pro, organizations can now:
- Launch Meetups in towns and cities around the world under a centralized account
- Visualize Meetup activity on a single responsive webpage showcasing their growing communities as well as who’s hosting
- Analytics and reporting that help visualize key network metrics based on member engagement and activity
- Tools that allow community professionals to communicate with local Meetup leaders and members to spread good news, provide support, and gather feedback
- The ability to sort member information based on different behaviors or activity levels, and view individual member profiles
Along with targeted promotion within Meetup’s network of over 20 million members, we offer a decade’s worth of learning about what it takes for in-person communities to thrive.
Building community is our mission. We’re excited to help organizations with similar values develop a deeper level of engagement with customers, fans, and followers, forming meaningful connections to create real communities.
Reblogged with permission from Juan Mateos-Garcia, whose team at Nesta studies innovation in creative and digital industries. His team is interested in tracking the emergence of new technologies, and communities of innovators. This blog presents what they found using the data available from our API. The article was originally published on Nesta.
Tech meet-ups have become an important feature of the digital innovation landscape. In these events, coders, designers, hackers and entrepreneurs (among others) come together to learn from each other and network. Meetups can help participants keep their technology skills fresh in fields that move too fast for universities and training providers, and facilitate collaboration and job mobility, increasing the connectivity and efficiency of local innovation ecosystems.
Websites like Meetup and EventBrite have emerged to make it easier for people to create and manage meet-ups.[i] The data generated by these platforms could help us understand when and where new technology communities emerge and evolve, and how they are connected to each other. It could also tell us something about the rise of new technologies. These are questions of obvious interest for policymakers, entrepreneurs, businesses and investors who want to identify the right communities of innovators to work with, and the right technologies to target.
In this blog, we undertake a preliminary exploration of UK tech meet-ups from Meetup to assess its potential as a source of information about the structure, geography and evolution of digital tech in the UK.
About the data
Meetup was created in 2002 to help people connect with others in their community. It currently has over 20 million users in 192,000 groups in 181 countries. When registering, users express interest on particular topics (e.g. “data science” or “online marketing”), and are shown information about groups near to them that focus on those topics (or similar ones).[ii] Users can join those groups to receive updates about forthcoming events. Meetup charges group organisers a monthly subscription fee.
To get the data, we query the Meetup API for groups in the “Tech” category in UK cities (based on this Wikipedia list). This returns 3,707 groups as of 2nd April 2015. After removing duplicates, we are left with 1391 groups for which we have information on location, membership, starting date, description and topics for the group.[iii]
These 1,391 groups are based in 160 unique locations in the UK, and have a gross total of 434,826 members.[iv] 71% have been created since 2013, consistent with the idea (though not necessarily proof of) of increasing levels of meet-up activity in recent times.
A graph of the tech landscape
In aggregate terms, the groups in our list focus on 2,569 topics. We want to arrange these topics into a smaller set of “tech fields” containing inter-related topics. To do this, we follow a ‘data-driven’ approach based on scientometrics principles (the quantitative analysis of science and technology metrics e.g. academic papers and patents).
The basic idea is that topics in the same tech field will often be mentioned by the same Meetup groups.[v] For example, if the business challenge of creating value from big data requires the combination of database technologies, analytics methods and parallel processing frameworks, these topics are likely to be of interest to the same practitioners. As a consequence, we would expect to find them mentioned by the same groups, in a way that defines a ‘data’ technology field and its community of practitioners.
We visualise these associations in a “topic network” where topics that are often mentioned together are linked and “pulled together” (see graph below).[vi] After constructing that network, we use community detection algorithms to look for densely connected “clusters” of topics inside them.[vii] This results in the identification of six tech fields:
- Application: includes topics representing industries and domains where digital technologies are being applied, such as startups and entrepreneurialism, social media, digital marketing, educational technology, and mobile and web design.
- Data: includes topics related to data and analytics, such as big data, data science, predictive analytics, machine learning, open data or data mining.
- IT systems: The topics here represent IT engineering and systems administration activities.
- Hardware: Its topics relate to technologies and skills with a hardware component, such as 3D printing, Internet of Things or Robotics, as well as Maker communities.
- Python: Interestingly, the community detection algorithm does not allocate the programming language Python to any of the tech fields above. This could be explained by the fact that Python is a general programming language in its own right (it has many links to topics in the Application and Software fields), but at the same time is gaining increasing popularity among data analysts and data scientists (in the Data field).
Some Meetup stories just plain write themselves, like Jenny Beene Skuban’s story. She’s the Organizer of A Momster takeover: a group for Awkward Moms in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jenny is a native Cincinnatian. Before she found Meetup, she was comfortably surrounded by a support system that included a best friend who had children of the same age at the same time as her. They were inseparable, until a job relocation forced their family to move cross country, leaving Jenny feeling isolated and alone for the first time in her life.
They kept in touch, but Jenny continued to bemoan the situation until tough love took over. Her best friend told her to “suck it up and find some friends.” Her friend did some googling, found Momsters, and sent the link to Jenny.
Jenny was an early member and she loved it from the beginning. She watched the Meetup grow from 10 to nearly 120 members within two years. In July 2014, she stepped up to take over the Meetup from the woman who founded it, but she refuses to be called ‘Organizer.’
“I don’t do anything more than anyone else. The members make this Meetup. We do it for each other.” She quickly qualified that by saying, “honestly I don’t know how we do it,” with a self-deprecating laugh.
The Meetup group is a support system to help parents come out of their shells. She says, “It reminds you of who you really are, with people involved in the same kinds of struggles. We love each other for it. It’s not about hulking around on the internet. We want you there. We want to actually know you.”
I recently caught up with Shawn from the “I wanted to do that…Just not alone” Meetup in New York City, to find out how he keeps over 14,000 members happy after 4 years. His secret: “the key to keeping members active and engaged is consistency”.
To Shawn, being consistent means being attuned to your membership and understanding trends in your Meetup group.
Here are the three key attributes that make it work for his members:
Be welcoming: “People know when they come to our Meetups, they are going to find a friendly and engaging group of people. We work hard to create that atmosphere. Going to an unfamiliar place to meet new people can be intimidating. It’s easier when you trust that the organizer will be actively working to make sure people feel welcome.”
Keep your calendar busy: “There’s always something happening. People join Meetup because they want to do something!”
Leverage popular Meetups: “We have events that we’ve been running for years that you can expect to see twice a month, or more. Sometimes people find the thing they like, and they want to keep doing it, so we make sure it’s available for them. We actually have quite a few popular events, mostly because we run them consistently and make sure people know they can expect a good time”.
Making Meetup easier and more fun to use on mobile devices has been our top priority for 2015.
Today we’re excited to introduce Meetup’s Apple Watch app, which has the most important information about your Meetups where and when you need it most: at a glance, on your wrist.
The app allows you to RSVP, see who’s attending, browse your Meetup groups and receive notifications. Tilt your wrist to:
- Get notified of last minute Meetup time and location changes
- Find out when a spot opens up on the waiting list
- Use the map to find your way to your Meetup
Download Meetup for iOS on your iPhone here. If you have Apple Watch, the new Meetup app will automatically show up. You’ll find it featured by Apple on launch day.
Not an iOS user? Get the Android app with support for Android Wear here.
“I’m a big believer that technology is the future of economic growth and opportunity,” says NJ Tech Meetup Organizer Aaron Price. We at Meetup HQ agree with Aaron, and we’re not alone: last Friday, 50 tech Meetup organizers from around the country arrived in DC for the first ever Tech Meetup at the White House, hosted by U.S. CTO Megan Smith. The organizers, who traveled from as far as Alaska to get in on the action, came together to share their successes, and struggles, to connect, collaborate, and walk away stronger and more energized community leaders. In anticipation of the big day, we sat down with a handful of the organizers in attendance to capture their tech Meetup stories on camera.