Opus Reticulatum

Opus Reticulatum

Brains, Books and Twitter Networking

Twelve months ago I started a small social media based direct marketing company. I was in need of a network of business clients to market to and I had zero network in the town I live due to the fact that I had just moved here eighteen months earlier, was a single dad and spent all my time with friends and family.

That’s when I set out to meet the town. I made it a goal of 2010 to meet and network with as many people as I could. I started by asking those I knew, “Where do you network?” That was good. I met more people, and I asked them where they networked. Soon, my list of places and people grew too large for me to network everywhere in town. I had been to enough places to know where the quality people I wanted to meet were hanging out.

In May, I took over a Meetup.com group, The Brainstorming Networkers, and I became an organizer of my own meeting. That’s when things really started to take off. I thought, “Everyone who wants to really network their community needs their own Meetup.” The benefits of being at the front of the room, of creating something for which people are dependent upon you to facilitate, are tremendous.

After a little research on what other people were doing on Meetup, I discovered that about 95% had no idea what they were doing. I joined several groups only to watch them close shortly thereafter. Some of them were great concepts, and I hated to see them go, so I started offering my limited knowledge in how the system worked to support the growth of others groups. If they couldn’t grow, at least they could stay alive. That’s when mine started to grow. A little knowledge can be very powerful.

I started meeting with some of the other Meetup organizers who had their act together. One of them, Dr. Misty Funk (@SimpleCityLife), was running more Meetups and spending more time on her groups than her own chiropractic practice. We found we had something in common (besides a passion for Meetup.com), reading business and success books, so we started our own group. A book club focused on those like minded individuals who enjoy reading these books, but don’t have people in their personal lives to discuss the topics explored. To date, the Food For Thought Book Club has been my most successful attempt at starting a Meetup from scratch.

I decided to take a look at how I was getting new people to my events. I discovered I was bringing people to my Meetup events via Twitter. I was revealing a whole world of people who were looking for the types of events I was running. There were thousands of people on Twitter in my own backyard looking to meet other people in the real world. I discovered that Twitter was a powerful networking tool.

I was meeting twice as many people on Twitter than through traditional networking methods, and I found a seemingly endless pool of intelligent, successful and thoughtful individuals, all living in my town. Some were even neighbors! That’s when the idea whacked me upside the head: Combine Twitter and Meetup. I converted a defunct Meetup group into a new Twitter Networking group, and it has been fun to see the diversity and similarity of people who decided to join.

My first Twitter Networking Meetup, Tweetup and Workshop is in a few days, and I can’t wait to see the explosive growth. If you know anything about Twitter, you know how powerful just an idea can be. I plan to write about this group often. It’s probably my greatest joy outside spending time with family. I can keep myself up late just thinking of all the fun I’m going to have meeting so many wonderful people.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you intrigued? If you’re looking to create something similar in your town, let me know how it goes. I’m always interested in finding out what works and what doesn’t in this fantastically networked world.

(Now, read my most recent post: Palingenesis)

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4 Comments

  1. I don’t think I agree that everyone who wants to “really” network should start a MeetUp. A lot of people think that the best way to get noticed is to do that, and what you often end up with is a lot of events that don’t have many people at them.

    Plus running an event doesn’t fit everyone’s personality. Some are better at meeting people through offering information or interesting discussion points at someone else’s event. Essentially, some people make better guests than hosts, and that doesn’t mean they can’t network as effectively as the hosts.

    1. I agree not everyone needs to host an event and that you can network very effectively from the group. People who want to “really” network and start a meeting that have few people attend, don’t know how to run a meeting. I disagree that having too many events means having them with less people. Thanks for commenting.

  2. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was on the secret of networking.

    I’m a bit shy, and the whole networking thing is actually fairly difficult for me. I can meet a few people at an event, but it’s hardly an efficient way to meet lots of people at once. The biggest issue? Trying to find the right introduction to strangers. For someone like me, it’s harder than it looks.

    What is the best way to meet people at a networking event? Host it. As the host, you can meet everyone that attends (it’s easy to introduce yourself to everyone as the host) and there’s a clear purpose to your actions.

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