You may or may not have heard about the social media site meetup.com which has been around oh, about fifteen years. That’s a long time in social media years. I joined up years ago to get event information in my local area but recently found out that meetup groups have their own websites too. I also heard about one of our own sections, the High Plains Section, who has a meetup website of their own. That’s another innovative use of social media sites to engage members!
Meetup.com says this about themselves on their website:
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
High Plains officer Richard Toftness reports that Meetup makes a difference as it reaches a different demographic from the usual IEEE sites. We see a lot of outside interest in our meetings from people that follow meetup. All of our meetings are open to members and non-members.
While I’m not proposing you abandon an official IEEE website like WordPress or WebInABox (for one, you would lose vTools connectivity like officer roster and calendar event data), you might consider looking into meetup as an adjunct to twitter, facebook, linkedin, and the plethora of other social media sites. Meetup is unique in that it makes it easier for people in your local area to find your website. Who knows, you might even recruit some new members, and that’s not all bad!