Meetup’s Hidden Features

The Community Team fields feature suggestions from organizers regularly, but it’s not unusual to receive a feature request for a tool we already have on site.

Some features are less often utilized and therefore a little harder to find, or only available on certain platforms.

For example, did you know you can check members into your Meetups on the Android app and via Mobile Web? Now you can.

Read on to discover a few hidden organizer tools you’ll find on the desktop site, which are helpful when it comes to learning more about your members, sharing documents, and promoting your Meetups.

Polls 

Polls allow you to collect anonymous feedback to plan great Meetups and learn more about your members. Members can vote on the best weekend for a hiking trek, help you select reading material for a book club, choose between activities or even vote up the perfect venue for a party.

You can also ask high level questions for even more insight, like what makes your Meetups most valuable to your members.

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You’ll find the Polls feature under the More tab from your Meetup group’s homepage.

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File sharing

Let’s say you’re at a Cooking & Recipes Meetup when one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re claiming your grandmother’s banana bread is the best thing since sliced bread.

You can upload the recipe directly to your Meetup group so members can judge for themselves.

The Files page allows members to share documents and files with one another like music or even writing materials. Organizers can upload relevant membership documentation and send a link for each individual file to their members. They can also limit access to those files by making them only available to members of the Meetup group, or only to the leadership team.

Also located under More.

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When it comes to email, less is more

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Over the years, email has been our main way of letting you know what’s going on. Sometimes there’s a lot going on. So we send a lot of email. Not only is a lot of email annoying, but it also makes it harder to find what’s really important to you.

We get it. We’ve been working on it. And we’re making some changes.

Get less email in a smarter way

We’re working to crack the code to keep your inbox clearer without you missing out on what you want to see. To start, we’re rolling up suggestions and announcements so you’re not seeing each one separately.

See the latest news when you need it most

Now you’ll always see what’s most important right away—like a venue change, timing update, a message from your organizer, or comments posted while you’re still meeting up. The Meetup app lets you see these updates as push notifications. Without the app, you’ll still see the latest as emails while on the go.

Expect to hear less from us very soon.

Announcing Meetup Pro

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.

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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

Coming soon:

  • 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.

If you’re interested in how Meetup Pro can help you, contact us at partner@meetup.com or go to meetup.com/pro for more information.

Using Meetup data to explore the UK digital tech landscape

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.

Juan is also a member of the Data Visualisation Brighton Meetup, and Big Data Debate in London.  

 

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).
  • Software: includes topics related to general-purpose software programming languages (e.g. JavaScript) and development methodologies (e.g. agile). It also contains some generic terms like “coding” and “computer programming.”

Graph

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Introducing Meetup’s Apple Watch app

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.

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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.

Meetup Messages just got better

No more guesstimating your Meetup’s whereabouts. Now you can share your location privately through Messages with just one tap. No address? No problem. Meetup mid-hike, in the park, or at the afterparty. Open the map to find directions and be on your way—you’ll never be waiting on the wrong corner again.

Available now on iOS and Android.  

Fairer Meetup price plans

Since we first started charging Organizer Dues in 2005, we’ve had one plan, set at one price. Whether you run a 20 member Meetup or a 5,000 member Meetup, to date you’ve paid the same Organizer Dues for the same set of features. Starting this January we’re introducing new Organizer Dues plans, with the aim of making Meetup fairer for communities big and small.

As part of this rollout, we’re excited to introduce a lower-priced Basic plan for smaller scale Meetups. In addition to our Basic plan, we’re rolling out an Unlimited plan. The Unlimited plan allows Organizers with larger communities to manage them with ease. As a third offering, we plan to add a Premium plan with advanced features for even bigger Meetups in the future.

Basic Unlimited Premium
$9.99 per month $14.99 per month Coming soon!
Up to 50 members Unlimited members
Up to 3 co-organizers Unlimited co-organizers

Our new price plans will call on organizers of larger Meetups to pay a little more, while organizers of smaller Meetups pay a little less. By matching group size to price point, we hope to establish a fair playing field that opens the door for even more Meetups. We hope this helps us help everyone, everywhere, to grow the communities they want and need.

Learn more about our new plans here.

Planned Meetup downtime

Meetup’s site and apps will be down for about an hour beginning Sunday, November 9th, at 7am EST. We wanted to give you a heads up so you can plan accordingly. We’re doing some routine maintenance work that requires taking Meetup offline briefly—we do this from time to time to ensure Meetup is as up-to-date and speedy as we all want it to be. Thanks for your understanding!

Making it easier for everyone to help out

Great Meetups are made of great members who care about their communities. These members know that organizing a Meetup takes work, and in addition to the planning, scheduling, and coordinating, it also takes money. Whether it’s jerseys for game days, craft supplies for projects, rental fees for equipment, or even just snacks, we know that sometimes it takes stuff—in addition to awesome members—to make awesome Meetups happen.

We want to make it easy for supportive members to chip in on costs and help make Meetup groups even better. That’s why, as of today, we’re adding a “Chip in” button on group and event pages, allowing members to contribute, no matter what device they use to access Meetup.

Chipping in is a great way to help cover costs and strengthen the Meetups you love. Stronger Meetups mean stronger communities, and it’s up to us to make it happen.

Jesse, the Organizer behind the Central Park Sketching & Art Meetup Group, reports, “Contributions have been working great. I’m using the money to pay for the name tags and markers I use for the group, for park and museum reservations, and to pay for myself to scout out new locations.”

Contributions are also an easy way to cover Meetup fees. Andrew, the Organizer of the Garden State Kayakers Meetup, says, “all contributions go straight into paying the dues for the group.”

Timothy from the Central Kentucky Photography Group agrees. “The money we collect goes towards Meetup activities and website fees. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and it works.”

Currently, chipping in is only available for our US-based friends. Stay tuned for international chip in options—coming soon!

Have questions about Contributions? Head over to our Help Center.

Meetup & Get to the Polls

We’re happy to announce that we’ve joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Voting Information Project and The Internet Association to help voters Get to the Polls on November 4th for the U.S. Midterm Elections. The Get to the Polls site provides voters with a simple, central location to find everything they need to make an informed decision on Election Day. By entering their residential information, voters will be able to find their polling place address, hours of operation, and full ballot summary with just a few easy clicks.

At Meetup, we’re setting out to make local community real. We believe that everyone should have a voice in their community, and voting is one of the most important ways to make that voice heard. Through Meetup, people come together to make their communities stronger, healthier, happier places, and choosing our elected officials is an important part of ensuring those communities continue to thrive. Creating the communities we want to live in is important work, and it’s up to all of us to do it together. Voting is a critical piece of that work, and we’re thrilled to see Get to the Polls making it easier than ever. If you’re a United States citizen, make sure to check it out, and on November 4th, don’t forget to vote.