Recently, I've had a small influx of new members to the two blogging Meetup groups I organize, and there's always curiosity as to why these meetings seem to flounder from lack of interest. One new member has suggested a "blogathon" type meet up (eg. attendees bring laptops, 3G or iBurst and blog for an hour or two one morning or evening), and following it up with subsequent meetings and blog-ins.
There are two Sydney-based groups over on the Meetup site for bloggers who live in Sydney. A quick pocket history:
While the first few meetings in early 2007 were fizzers, the Sydney Webloggers Meetup took off quite nicely under Sara, aka The Bargain Queen, and by scheduling several Meetups in 2007 as unofficial after-parties to big web conventions in the CBD (and publicising them through her very successful blog) attendances were at the 20 to 30+ mark. A very healthy Data Miners group broke away (so they could sit chatting about all that mathematical stuff) and formed their own Meetup group but - I dunno... maybe most other attendees were coming to find out how Sara (and friends) were suddenly starting to make an income out of blogging on the side?
Sara was suddenly unable to run meetings, and no one else on the site was vetting and approving messages to their bulletin board, or even answering emails. In 2008, in frustration, I started up a separate Bloggers of Sydney Meetup group (focusing on hobby blogging, so as not to step on toes) and I politely spammed quite a few on the old site to tell them about it. Then, about three days later, the owner of Sydney Webloggers emailed me to say he'd made me an assistant organizer of his group - and thus I ended up running two groups. (Sara and her husband went off to New York, to start her US career as a pro blogger, I hear.)
Strangely, in the five Meetups I've run in 2008, nobody from Sydney Webloggers has ever attended a meeting who wasn't already also in my Bloggers of Sydney group. Numbers are currently at 103 for Sydney Webloggers and 33 for the group I started. A few crossovers. Obviously, no one in Sydney Webloggers is much interested in hobby blogging, but their complete silence on what they would like is deafening. (Even though I now use blogs in my professional life as a primary school teacher-librarian, it's obviously not what they wish to hear about.)
I've tried weeknight and weekend meetings. Not much difference. Coffee shops, pubs, restaurants. Not much difference. The last successful Meetup (in a restaurant at Albion Park) had eight people (two drove from Canberra), but only two (plus one guest) were actually from my Meetup. The rest were from Aussie Bloggers' Forum bbs!
I don't own a laptop or 3G or iBurst, so I wouldn't have a clue who'd respond to such an idea. I keep hoping enough people will come to a meeting and we can discuss it. Looking forward to working out more ideas.
Anyway, this may be my Meetup swan song...
Announcing a new Meetup for The Sydney Weblogger and Bloggers of Sydney Meetup Groups!
When: Thursday, September 11, 2008 7:00 PM
Where: Click the link below to find out!
Meetup Description: It's been a while since I scheduled a meeting. I guess people reckon it's been too cold to venture out on a school night? I'm happy to design meetings around your preferences, and invite special guests but I need to hear about them first. Come and meet fellow bloggers of Sydney, don't just sit at home blogging about coming along one day!
Learn more here: