I’m always interested in befriending new people, so I was excited to try out Meetup for iOS after one of my friends recommended it as a tool for local community building and networking. The app basically connects people with common interests.
Once you enter your name, photo (optional), location, hobbies, and a short bio, you are suggested Meetup groups within 50 miles that fit your interests. You can browse by category (dads, outdoors, entertainment, photography, beliefs, tech, dancing, etc.) and find a group in your area. The Meetups are usually activity-based -- you can play soccer together, watch a movie, go hiking, hop bars, or suggest whatever you’re itching to do with a group.
Example groups? Active Moms With Awesome Kids. San Jose Anime and Manga Meetup. Friday Night Movie Buddies. Photographers and Models in their 20s and 30s.
Once you find and add a snazzy group, you can view their full calendar and see upcoming / past events, RSVP, and join their discussion page. It’s super easy to see who is in each group and who plans on attending each event, and there’s a messaging feature so you can get to know the group members better. You’re also given the option of creating your own Meetup group. There is a small fee associated with that -- a group of 50 members costs ~$8/month or $30/annually.
Overall, I think this is a really great way to expand your social circle in a low-pressure way. Group settings don’t intimidate me the way one-on-one meetings with strangers can! I can see myself using it more regularly if I move to a new city and don’t know anyone. I wouldn’t pay to create and manage my own group, but I understand they need to make revenue somehow. Also, I’m using the iPhone app, but Meetup is available on desktop and Android. Five stars!