What are Metafilter Meetups like? May 12, 2009 9:09 PM   Subscribe

What are Metafilter meetups like for the first time attendee with very little posting activity / history?

I have planned to go to several meetups in the past, but I always chicken out at the last minute. With the big ten year anniversary coming up, I have decided its time to step up and actually go! What are they like for people that have never been before?
posted by crazyray to MetaFilter-Related at 9:09 PM (182 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

Fabulous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:12 PM on May 12, 2009


Ever been to an orgy? Like that, but without the sex. Or the nudity. Noise level's about the same, though.

One thing's for sure; meetups get better the more you attend. So don't wait for the big one-oh; get to know your local mefites ahead of time and get the anxiety done with. Then you can focus on teh partay.
posted by Eideteker at 9:14 PM on May 12, 2009


Yeah, just go. Posting history doesn't matter as much as you think. It's really not about matching faces to names as much as it's just about hanging out with cool people and having fun.

I don't think I really post enough to be a very well established entity in people's minds, but I've made some good friends at Metafilter meetups.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:15 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Posting history doesn't matter as much as you think. It's really not about matching faces to names as much as it's just about hanging out with cool people and having fun.

I totally agree!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:16 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fun.
posted by jb at 9:18 PM on May 12, 2009


I've been to a lot of them, since before I worked here. It depends on the scene but it's usually just a chance to hang out with people who will get your jokes. People don't really care if you're active on the site. Most people are really nice (and even some people who might seem like they might be weird if you only knew them from MeFi are nice in person) and they're all pretty interesting. Some people are quieter, some are louder, most are friendly. You can bring an SO because it's not all MeFi injokes and whatever. Most meetups I go to don't really have much inside baseball talk at all.

I have met three of the people who posted in this thread so far. Two of them I met at meetups.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:19 PM on May 12, 2009


Just go. Participate in the conversation as much or as little as you like. Scores are not kept.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:21 PM on May 12, 2009


Wait, if scores aren't kept, why has Daddy scored nothing? And who's he playing against?
posted by ooga_booga at 9:23 PM on May 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


They are not nearly as scary or as strange as you think they will be. For example, the blood totally washes off. Also, you will find that the pain subsides after a few thrusts. And the best part is, you can usually get a recycling center to accept the broken glass and give you the same credit they'd give you for empty bottles.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 PM on May 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


If it's your first time, you have to fight.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:35 PM on May 12, 2009 [52 favorites]


Seriously, though, the important thing, I think, is that every argument on the internet was just a joke. When you meet anyone outside the internet, keep in mind that all the shit you thought was worth killing somebody over is really just talk between human beings who know each other well enough to be friends anyhow. You would be surprised what sorts of people who are perceived as 'enemies' on MeFi who get along swimmingly at meetups.

They're really actually wonderful. Lots of fun. You should come and enjoy it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was so nervous before I popped my meetup cherry. I really wanted it to be special, something I'd always remember. In retrospect, I think it would have been better if I'd waited until I was a little older, but Metafilter really put the pressure on me to take the relationship to the next level and I was in love. I felt really clumsy and awkward during the meetup but Metafilter was so gentle with me. I cried afterwards and Metafilter just held me in the dark. When I look back on it now I feel silly, but you never forget your first time.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:38 PM on May 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


Meetups are a lot more fun than MeTa threads about meetups.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 PM on May 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


Okay, But what if you thrive on the anonymity? Aside from my mild, sporadic misanthropy, that's what's holding me back from really desiring to go to a meet up. People will know me in real life! WIERD.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:45 PM on May 12, 2009


Do most people bring their SO's with them?
posted by crazyray at 9:45 PM on May 12, 2009


wierd is an alternate spelling for those of us who are also tired.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:46 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


My first meet-up was earlier this year, and I can attest to the relaxed, friendly, and stimulating nature of such gatherings. And don't listen to koeselitz. He's just worried about getting punched in the face again. Granted, he managed to come out on top just at the last moment, but only because he smashed a beer bottle over someone's head. The use of weapons is frowned upon. It's not Queensbury or anything, but come on. A beer bottle?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:50 PM on May 12, 2009


Yeah, meetups are a good time and there is no reason whatsoever to worry about seniority or tenure or whatever sort of formulation you want to throw around. People are just people, and they're generally refreshingly three-dimensional and friendly and happy to shoot the shit about whatever, site-related or no.

It adds a wonderful humanizing sheen to interactions on the site, too. I know a lot of people via mefi that I know only via electronic interactions who I like and respect a great deal, but it's always nice when I'm talking to someone here who I also have that extra bit of physical connection—oh, he told me about his screen-printing that one time; oh, right, I spilled her beer—that cements the reality of this place as a community.

They're honestly one of my favorite things about the site, these meetup things, in no small part because they aren't on a meetup by meetup basis any kind of a big deal. Even the tenth is gonna just be another (whole bunch of) meetups, but I agree with the notion of hitting one beforehand if there's one in your town just so you can have a chance to kick out some of the butterflies if you're a butterflying sort.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:51 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do most people bring their SO's with them?

Some do, some don't. If your SO likes meeting friendly strangers and having a drink or whatever with them, your SO would probably have a great time.

Okay, But what if you thrive on the anonymity?

You can always show up as Anonymous. People probably won't needle you too much.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 PM on May 12, 2009


They write a V on your forehead.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can always show up as Anonymous. People probably won't needle you too much.

They might give you a little bit of shit for all your wacked-out relationship drama, though. On the other hand, they'll be impressed by how many favorites you have.
posted by dersins at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


You can always show up as Anonymous. People probably won't needle you too much.

So a mod will channel my spirit into the meet-up... how... uh... spiritualist.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:02 PM on May 12, 2009


I couldn't bring my SO, but I brought my sockpuppet along. She had a great time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:12 PM on May 12, 2009


Data point for you: I went to my first MeFi meetup just a few months after I joined, and I didn't have much of a posting history. I was very tempted to chicken out. I was nervous as all get-out, just as I am with any social gathering, especially when I'm new.

I pretty much had to face down the stomach butterflies and force myself to go, and I only stayed an hour and a half. But during that time, I had enjoyable and light-hearted conversations with a couple of people, and felt perfectly welcome. Nowhere near as scary as my monkey-brain had feared it might be. It was pretty awesome, in fact, all things considered.

I've been to two meetups since then, and now a few folks recognize me and are happy to chat with me. Now I'm really looking forward to the next meetup.
posted by velvet winter at 10:16 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was really uncomfortable when they put that squid in my butt and then sang weird German cabaret songs about mountain goats at me but I have to say the sushi was fucking delicious and these rubber lederhosen are really quite fashionable and functional.


Err, I mean... forget about it. Just go. With any luck you might be the weirdest person there. If you like what people link to, type and say on mefi you'll probably like a meetup, but your tolerance for alcohol and noise may vary.

The drinking tends to be on par with a mild to medium wedding or high school reunion. People don't get belligerent or anything but there seem to be plenty of people that like to get rather loosely sauced, probably because they're nervous, too. They seem to like getting sauced on good beer, in particular, often buying pitchers and snacks to make sure everyone's cup is full.

I think it's lots of fun.

If you're not into this sort of (honestly tame) alcohol-saturated meetup there have been plenty of non-alcoholic meetups at parks, gardens, museums and that sort of thing.

And I say all of this as someone who says controversial or otherwise inflammatory things - If anyone would have been punched in the mouth at a meetup by now I'm likely in the top 10 or 100 or so, and I've been to a lot of meetups.

Just go.
posted by loquacious at 10:17 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


They write a V on your forehead.

Actually we just wrote a V on your forehead, but you totally earned the A we gave you later.
posted by loquacious at 10:19 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let me put it this way, human beings are way better than text on a screen.
posted by hellojed at 10:24 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can always show up as Anonymous.

This could be a fun game, going to meetups as the poster of today's anonymous AskMes. So at a meetup tonight, you would need some rotten teeth, talk about your job as a web designer and your plans to head to college soon, and maybe bring along your man/girlfriend, who is also going to college soon and upset that you haven't had sex.
posted by scottreynen at 10:28 PM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ok, I feel bad for being such a yahoo earlier in the thread. The truth is, for all the snark and inside jokes, Metafilter is radically inclusive. Users here seem to come from pretty diverse backgrounds, we all have a pretty strong connection to the site, and probably most of us don't have many people in our real world lives who understand why we spend so much time here. So at meetups, there's an instant common bond and people are eager to share. Yes, everyone is incredibly shy and nervous at first, and conversation is a little awkward initially (this is why so many meetups involve alcohol) but once things get rolling, it is possible to make some strong connections.

Your (lack of) posting history will not be the slightest issue. There are only a few AstroZombies and Languagehats at meetups: you won't recognize most of the people you meet just from their posting history and people won't think anything of it if they don't recognize your user name, either. But afterward, when you see one of your new friends make a post you'll have a whole new perspective.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:38 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm coming as sixcolors.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:42 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm coming as sixcolors.

Has anyone ever been banned from a meetup?
posted by crossoverman at 11:12 PM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


You can do what I did: I claimed an abandoned username with a couple of posts in 2003 and people were excited to finally meet 'me'.

Then I lent this username to the creepy guy who sells crack outside my building and directed him to the Indian Pizza place. He tells me he had a great time, he fit right in and he sold his weekly quota in one night.
posted by dirty lies at 11:23 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Has anyone ever been banned from a meetup?

Yes, but thankfully no one argues with someone in a 100 foot tall combat robot suit fueled with vodka.
posted by loquacious at 11:54 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm coming as sixcolors.

Surely you meant "as sixcolors, man, I would COME!!!!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


no one argues with someone in a 100 foot tall combat robot suit fueled with vodka.

nah, they'd be too busy siphoning off the contents of the fuel tank.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:12 AM on May 13, 2009


Showing up as your self on your first ever meetup is a bad idea. Especially now that you've posted this thread. Posting history does matter and you will be looked down upon. Be someone else until you truly master the game. Crawl, walk, and then run.

I was really scared at first too, so I always went as a more or less well-known member that I knew wasn't attending. You can't go too obvious, of course; I once pretended to be dirtynumbangelboy, only to find out that one other mefite at the meetup knew him IRL. Instead of blowing my cover, though, he introduced me to a couple of his gay friends who were also attending, which left me in a rather awkward situation for the rest of the evening.
posted by klue at 12:18 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh, funny question. A couple of years ago, at the Yearly Kos convention in Chicago (now renamed Netroots Nation), a guy who had been banned on Daily Kos actually did show up. He was a longtime site user who finally managed, as I recall, to get himself banned just a few weeks before the conference, so his plans were probably already set. But he was also the sort of weirdo who would have done that kind of thing anyway, even if he'd been banned six months earlier. Anyhow, it was pretty funny seeing him there.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:38 AM on May 13, 2009


I'm glad you asked this question, crazyray.

...it's just about hanging out with cool people...
Well, this totally intimidates me. It's been a good decade since I was cool.
My descendants won't even allow me to use that kind of terminology anymore, 'cause it makes me look like I'm trying to hard to be in their generation when they think I belong to this one.

Wait, what? I thought 94.3% of mefites were introverts. How does that work?
posted by b33j at 12:42 AM on May 13, 2009


Wait, what? I thought 94.3% of mefites were introverts. How does that work?

When people direct their personalities inward, they reflect more sunlight. Hence, cooler.
posted by davejay at 2:17 AM on May 13, 2009 [16 favorites]


don't listen to them, crazyray

paphnuty went to a meetup and nobody's heard from him since
posted by jtron at 2:50 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're fuckin' crazyray.
posted by gman at 3:48 AM on May 13, 2009


I remember my first meetup. People were talking wistfully about a flameout that was happening on metatalk a we spoke. Such a pity to be sitting in a pub while you could be following that thread behind your computer.
Also they could recount contentious threads extensively.
Those people were more mefi minded than me.

At other meetups people were more on my level of mefi mindedness.
posted by jouke at 4:27 AM on May 13, 2009


If it's your first time, you have to fight.

Absolutely not true. The fistfight at the SXSW meetup was between two guys we're pretty sure had never heard of Metafilter. Besides, they seemed to be enjoying it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:56 AM on May 13, 2009


Maybe those of who are scared (and in the same location) could get together and go as a group ... ?
posted by paduasoy at 5:07 AM on May 13, 2009


so a meetup for the meetup?
posted by msconduct at 5:10 AM on May 13, 2009


That's the one. Though having considered this further we'd be in danger of being pointed at and mocked. Especially if we all held hands.
posted by paduasoy at 5:17 AM on May 13, 2009


It's mandatory for first-timers to wear a scrolling LED badge with their user number, so we can google them on our iPhones and resolve any issues that arise.
posted by lukemeister at 5:22 AM on May 13, 2009


Are hugs mandatory too?
posted by paduasoy at 5:23 AM on May 13, 2009


Yes, hugs are mandatory, but remember that a hug from a Mefite is more like a roundhouse kick.
posted by lukemeister at 5:30 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Went to my first one a couple weeks ago and I am not exactly a prolific poster. I had a blast, but then again get a few beers in me and I'll think a funeral was a good time.
posted by Loto at 5:52 AM on May 13, 2009


b33j: "Well, this totally intimidates me. It's been a good decade since I was cool. "

The thing is that when roll truck roll says "cool people", he doesn't mean pink polo shirts with popped collars and perfectly-tussled hair and year-round tans. He means complex interests, curious hobbies, and strange points of view and the ability to have an intellectual conversation about them.
posted by Plutor at 6:04 AM on May 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


I went to my first meetup last year. I don't post often and didn't expect anyone to recognize my user name. It didn't matter. I had a couple beers and a nice conversation with a bunch of easy-going, friendly people. Just go. You'll be glad you did.
posted by emd3737 at 6:13 AM on May 13, 2009


Dude, if you're going to the right funerals, they ARE a good time. You get all dressed up and run into relatives you haven't seen in years and your sixth grade teacher and friends from high school, it's like a wedding (but sad in a different way). I had never even met the deceased at the last funeral I attended, but I managed to talk my way into singing with the choir. You might even be able to get into the room in the back of with the coffee and sandwich trays and homemade pies (this is equivalent to the VIP area at a lounge).

I recommend waiting until after the funeral itself to start boozing it up, though. If you are acquainted with younger relatives of the deceased, or, hey, if you can introduce yourself during the visitation, you may find that yourself invited along when a) the bottles discreetly appear at some point between the funeral home and the graveside service, and b) when everyone heads to the church basement for the potluck and then you are golden because, church lady casseroles and cakes!!
posted by little e at 6:18 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been to 3 Tokyo meetups, and they've all been fun. My wife came to one with me, and she's an old friend, by coincidence, of another Tokyo MeFite (hi misozaki!) so that's kinda cool, and my daughter's come along to 2 of them, and that's cool, and each meetup has had a cross-section of folks: some fairly active on the site, others not-so-active, and it doesn't matter who's prolific on the site and who's not and who's in between. It's just some folks getting together. Matter of fact, at the meetups I've attended here, there hasn't been a whole helluva lotta MeFi talk, exactly. Just, talk talk, mostly. It's all good! Looking forward to the next Tokyo meetup!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 AM on May 13, 2009


Oh yeah, meetups. First meetup, walking around the bar trying to decide which group of random strangers to approach was incredibly unpleasant. We need signs or something. I hate wandering around looking for people I know, let alone when I have no idea who they are, what they look like, how many of them there are, or whether they even exist. After one sad lap around the bar trying to decide which of the many groups of people might be the meetup, I had decided to just give up, drink one beer at the bar and leave. But then I realized the people beside me were talking about favorites, and after that it was cool.

Second meetup, though...didn't make it home until 9 am and I still don't know how I ended up with bloody gashes on my shin.
posted by little e at 6:39 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You make a good point about the funerals. I've been lucky, at the last one I attended my grandma left money for the bar tab at the VFW in her will. The town where she lived was small enough (and my family has been there long enough) that they opened it just for her funeral. Nothing like drinking till the wee hours of the night in a bar filled only with your drunken family.

little e makes a good point about actually, you know, finding the people at the meetup. I had no idea anyone else was at the bar until she posted to the meet up thread as I was checking it from my phone.

My suggestion? Walk in screaming "I am from the internet!".
posted by Loto at 6:48 AM on May 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


walking around the bar trying to decide which group of random strangers to approach was incredibly unpleasant.

For what it's worth, I do this exact same thing only people are likely to recognize me and save me from this. We really encourage people to either have signs or a "look for the ______" indicator, though in retrospect it's been funny walking around bars saying "Excuse me, I'm supposed to meet my internet nerd friends here; are you them?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:52 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, signs then! I take responsibility for being punctual and having a sign at the next DC area meetup. Especially after sitting there by myself for half an hour at the last one.
posted by little e at 6:56 AM on May 13, 2009


"Yes, hugs are mandatory, but remember that a hug from a Mefite is more like a roundhouse kick."

To the vagina.

Imagine what that feels like. Having a vagina, I mean.
posted by Eideteker at 6:56 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I see someone walk into a meetup with a "scanning" look in the eyes and posture that suggests they're trying to be nonchalant, and they're wearing glasses, I wave and say, "Hi! Are you from metafilter?" This works like 80 percent of the time, and hey, fuck that other 20 percent, they should know about metafilter too.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:02 AM on May 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Loto, I still wonder if that one dude you saw sitting uncomfortably alone at the bar checking his phone was there for the meetup and did give up. Anybody willing to admit it? I guess he could have just as easily been stood up by a blind date or something. Also, my sign may involve crayons or glitter so consider yourselves warned.

Imagine what that feels like. Having a vagina, I mean.

It's nice.
posted by little e at 7:03 AM on May 13, 2009


Imagine what that feels like. Having a vagina, I mean.

Vaginas are a lot more fun than MeTa thread about vaginas.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:08 AM on May 13, 2009 [16 favorites]


walking around the bar trying to decide which group of random strangers to approach was incredibly unpleasant.

This is why I always wear my Metafilter t-shirt to the meetups I attend. I'm like a little blue beacon of hope.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, not so little, actually.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was at the Toronto meet up when Jessamyn was here. I hadn't been to any before, and didn't really know who was who in Toronto. Some people had a vague idea who I was from what I posted here, but most people didn't. No one really cared who was who. People wouldn't mention their username when they introduced themselves, for example, though I guess that sort of thing came up later. Some people did bring their girlfriends/wifes/boyfriends/etc. And it was the greatest meetup in the history of meetups.
posted by chunking express at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd been a member about three months (and chickened out of at least one meetup) when I noticed that mathowie was going to be in town. So I posted a "let's welcome #1 to our fair city!" meTa, figuring that I couldn't chicken out of something I proposed.

It was so fun. Ridiculous amounts of fun. And I try not to miss any meetups now, because I've met some great people, and drunk much beer (and eaten many frjtz), and what's not to love about that?

And it's awesome to go to a meetup and go up to people - or have them come up to you - and say "Are you from the internet?" or "Are you a friend of Matt's?"

We just got back from a weekend in Seattle visiting a friend we met via metafilter, and had a meetup there (Seattle has fantastic beer, btw), and again, so fun.

So go! Make meetup! You'll like it!
posted by rtha at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2009


People from the internet are just like regular people, except they short out if you get them wet.
posted by Eideteker at 7:23 AM on May 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've gone to one meetup so far. I heard no "remember that one comment you posted?"-type conversation. It was just friendly, open-ended talk between relatively like-minded people.
posted by ignignokt at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2009


And it was the greatest meetup in the history of meetups.

Yeah, it was blinding... but that may have been because chunking express was 'flashing' people the whole night.

People wouldn't mention their username when they introduced themselves

I so badly want mine changed to my real name. Can't it be like 'Gabe - formerly known as gman'?
posted by gman at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2009


I spelled mine wrong. What the fuck is "chunking"? I remember emailing mathowie about it after I signed up, and he was all, "SUCK IT UP NOOB."
posted by chunking express at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, more or less.
posted by chunking express at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2009


In my almost decade of mefi membership, I've only ever made it to one meetup. The Dallas area is pretty quiet, and I keep missing the Austin ones. On the other hand, I frequently run into other Mefi members at non-mefi events, which is pretty funny. To be talking about something you saw on mefi, and have someone else say "Oh, I read that...the comments were hysterical" and trade usernames. Funny stuff.
posted by dejah420 at 7:47 AM on May 13, 2009


What the fuck is "chunking"?

Nothin', man, what's chunkin' with you?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:58 AM on May 13, 2009 [17 favorites]


I just walk around asking "Hi, are you from the internet?"
posted by special-k at 8:03 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Be prepared for anything. The last meetup I attended, I arrived not knowing anyone and left married to the quidnunc kid.

YMMV.
posted by trip and a half at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've traveled all over the place to attend meetups but only as a lurker. I never actually participate.
posted by Sailormom at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


This makes me somewhat less afraid of attending a meetup.

And really, I'm far less of a curmudgeon in person.
posted by oaf at 8:29 AM on May 13, 2009


The first meeting I went to, I'd only been a member for a few months and nobody knew me. I had a great time (and still miss some of the people I met then who've left the site—hey, evanizer, come back!). Just go, you'll enjoy it.
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2009


Oh joy! I can finally not feel bad about showing up at a meetup without having earned my Metafiilter stripes.

*Restlessly awaits the next Boston/Cambridge meetup*
posted by prufrock at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2009


I figured, "these people probably find a lot of the same things interesting as I would," and decided not to chicken out. Everyone I've met has been interesting, funny, off-kilter, intelligent... and any social ineptitude or nervousness is pretty much ignored. I met my girlfriend at the second meetup I attended (a little over a year ago), though there was no vibe that anyone attending was there to "hook up." People just have food/beers (or not) and talk about stuff (or listen attentively or offer good one-liners).
posted by not_on_display at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2009


They are just like every other gathering you've ever been to where people "sort of" know each other.

If you're extraverted, you'll squeeze on in and shake hands, introduce yourself and ask people questions about their lives.

If you're introverted, you'll wander around outside the place, looking for a sign that it's ok to skip it and go home. You'll hang out on the corner, pretending that you're waiting for a bus, while you sneak peeks at people going into the meetup place. You'll wonder if *that* cool person who just went in is part of the gathering, and what it would be like to talk to them. You'll finally get your nerve up to go in, telling yourself that you'll just scan the place, that you don't *have* to stay, that you can always pretend you just wandered in to check out the club. You'll see a group. It's them. You know it's now or never. You kind of drift over in a non-committed way (you could always veer off and claim you were just looking for the bathroom), then, seeing a seat, you'll grab it and hope that the person next to you is nice and doesn't reject you for being fat/old/stupid/a newbie/etc. *Then* you'll shake hands, introduce yourself and ask people questions about their lives.
posted by jasper411 at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Scores are not kept.

Wonders what meetup favoriting would look like. If it involves buying people shots, I'm so there.
posted by jeanmari at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have been able to locate the meetup group easily each time, and using the secret handshake admitted me to the party. Always fun, always an easy-going, interesting group. Fun. Recommended.
posted by theora55 at 9:23 AM on May 13, 2009


I was planning on attending the Toronto meetup with Jessamyn that was held a couple months ago. I'd just moved to Toronto from a smaller Ontario town a couple hours away, so it was my first opportunity to come to one of these things. Arriving twenty minutes early, I paced outside the location on a cold and drizzly evening, looking in the front windows to see if somehow recognizable people were gathering. I watched people who turned up the driveway to the restaurant for signs that they were there for the meetup. At about ten to seven I walked in and told the greeter that I was looking for a group of people who planned to meet there. I feared that I'd appear to be some sad geek if it was obvious that I was there to meet a group of internet people whom I don't know. She pointed into the front room and told me that they were planning on pushing some of those tables together and I could wait at the bar. I said I'd go outside for a stroll in the drizzle. Walked around the block a couple times, debated with myself if I wanted to go in, felt anxious about introducing myself to others using a stupid username. I don't drink and I'm quiet, social outings have always made me nervous. About ten after seven I looked in the front windows and saw a bunch of people who I knew must be Mefites. They looked like they were having a good time. I decided to take a walk downtown instead. At Bay and Bloor a shouting street person gave me a shoulder check as he ran past me. I decided that I deserved that for wimping out. I intend to try again in July.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:25 AM on May 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


Just walk around muttering "How is babby formed?" until you're embraced by your fellow Mefites.
posted by lukemeister at 9:26 AM on May 13, 2009


I decided to take a walk downtown instead.

I'm so glad it's not just me who does this sort of thing.
posted by ook at 9:33 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


There are only a few AstroZombies and Languagehats at meetups

Really? Are these the real AstroZombies and Languagehats, or just AstroZombie-helpers and Languagehat-helpers?
posted by mach at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or assailed by a group of feral Yahoo!Answersians, lukemeister.

I don't drink and I'm quiet, social outings have always made me nervous.

People who've met me probably don't believe this, but I'm the same way. Metafilter has provided a sort of automatic comfort zone for me, like how it's a lot easier to go to a house party where you already know pretty much everybody and know they're okay.

And it's worth emphasizing here that there's probably few crowds who more thoroughly understand and empathize with this sense of shy nervous weirdness than mefites getting together at a bar because they know each other from a website. Everybody gets it, everybody knows it's a little weird and intimidating to just show up in public to meet strangers from the internet.

You are not alone.

About ten after seven I looked in the front windows and saw a bunch of people who I knew must be Mefites. They looked like they were having a good time. I decided to take a walk downtown instead.

Definitely go on in next time. Worst case scenario isn't any worse than a shoulder check from a homeless dude, and basically nobody ever gets anywhere near the worst case scenario.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I'm not the same way about the "I don't drink" part. I'm actually like your goateed evil twin in that respect, I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


You will not be the strangest person there. This can be somewhat of a shock if you're used to interacting in the rest of the world.
posted by Skorgu at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm also a non-drinker and very quiet. The anniversary meetup, if I make it, should be terrifying interesting.
posted by bristolcat at 9:47 AM on May 13, 2009


I decided to take a walk downtown instead.

I'm so glad it's not just me who does this sort of thing.


Aw hell no you are most definitely not the only one. These days I usually manage to say fuck it and show up to strange situations and fake some social skills but it was not easy to get to this point and sometimes I still end up taking the walk instead.
posted by little e at 9:50 AM on May 13, 2009


The other thing that I've found, and sorry to continually belabor this, is that the MeFites are all generally kind. So there's no high school cool kids thing. Even if some people are more outgoing and/or know more people they've all been there and are generally good at making people feel at home. I mean I'm sure there's the exception here and there (some people aren't the most practiced drinkers, some people are having bad days or short term drama) but generally speaking I've met some of the most interesting people I know at meetups. I usally make it a point to go talk to the geekiest nerdiest spazz at these things and I usually find myself competing for their attention because other people find their stories as fascinating as I do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been to eight or so meetups, and I've done fewer posts than you have, crazyray. Also, I have full-blown social anxiety disorder, which makes it extra difficult to approach a boisterous group of people.

Bear in mind that everyone at the meetup has had a 'first meetup.' Very likely, you won't be the only firstie at the Big Tenth.
posted by zennie at 9:59 AM on May 13, 2009


Another quiet, introverted non-drinker here. I've always had a great time at meetups, though I admit I'm still not too fond of noisy, crowded restaurants. The company's worth it, though.

I feared that I'd appear to be some sad geek

Ah, I know that feeling well. But keep in mind that the rest of us are Internet nerds too, so you'll fit right in.
posted by velvet winter at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2009


Devils Rancher, I'd almost forgotten about the SXSW crazy-guy-fight! Also, walking into a meetup with jessamyn? awesome, partially because it helps with that "hey, are you guys from the internet?" thing. (and at SXSWi, pretty much everybody is from the internet, so that makes it tricky.)

Someday I will make it to a more local meeting...I very nearly went to the last one in Seattle, but last minute "husband's friend's birthday lunch" intervened. I'm trying to see if I can swing the mega-PDX 10th anniversary meetup.

As mentioned above, it is a little like any social gathering where you kinda-sorta know the people, only the MeFites seem to better understand the whole introvert omg-people! thing.
posted by epersonae at 10:02 AM on May 13, 2009


crazyray, since this'll be your first meetup I'll buy you a car bomb. Car bombs make everything better, especially awkward social situations!

Offer valid only at Washington, DC locations
posted by Loto at 10:07 AM on May 13, 2009


I have to warn you, crazyray, there will probably be a smart-ass or two there.
posted by Mister_A at 10:10 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


And if you go to a meetup with jessamyn, she might show you the Admin Panel.
posted by languagehat at 10:10 AM on May 13, 2009


But keep in mind that the rest of us are Internet nerds too, so you'll fit right in.

Exactly. Meetups are where sad geeks go to be awesome.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


So it's like how I always imagined space camp would be?
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:23 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


So it's like how I always imagined space camp would be?

Any everyone's the size of batman's hand on the IMAX.
posted by jmd82 at 10:29 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first rule of fight club is that you don't talk about fight club.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 AM on May 13, 2009


Ever been to an orgy? Like that, but without the sex. Or the nudity.

You're going to the wrong meetups. In other words, it's exactly like space camp.
posted by little e at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2009


I was really nervous before the first meetup I went to, so I had a few drinks to loosen up. Then I got there and it was a blast so I had several more drinks in the course of enjoying myself. I eventually realized that I had gotten embarrassingly drunk and was saying loud and inappropriate things. No one held this against me at the next meetup I attended, at which someone else was louder and drunker. I think this may be par for the course.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Meetups are where sad geeks go to be awesome.

Being awesome myself, I go to meetups to be sad.
posted by dersins at 10:46 AM on May 13, 2009


and basically nobody ever gets anywhere near the worst case scenario.

I stayed too late two meetups ago, so I left my last one a little earlier than usual. In response, eamondaly gave me, and I say this without exaggeration, the most pointed and terrifying middle finger I've ever been on the receiving end of. Nothing fancy about it, and it only lasted a second or two, but, BAM. The bird. Flipped, at me.

He didn't mean anything malicious by it, I don't think, as he was simply sad that I was leaving. But man, it's a long red line ride home, and that shit just stuck with me.

Point is, scary things happen sometimes, but they're funny scary, and you can use the time in between meetups to plan your counterattack!
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:49 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


ocha-no-mizu's very first comment on the site was to say he was coming to a meetup. He seemed to enjoy it as much as anyone else.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:52 AM on May 13, 2009


I was really nervous before the first meetup I went to, so I had a few drinks to loosen up. Then I got there and it was a blast so I had several more drinks in the course of enjoying myself. I eventually realized that I had gotten embarrassingly drunk and was saying loud and inappropriate things. No one held this against me at the next meetup I attended, at which someone else was louder and drunker. I think this may be par for the course.

At 90% of the events I attend, I end up being that guy. I consider it a service to my country to be able to prevent others from being that guy.
posted by Loto at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2009


So far, out of the meetups I've been involved in organizing, we've:
  • Imported cortex from Portland, just for the hell of it.
  • Gone to see dead bodies.
  • Ridden a merry-go-round together.
In my experience, it's been kind of awesome. And the people have been nothing but nice. As a borderline agoraphobe, I've found that the best tactic is just to jump in: you'll have a good time even if you're dreading it.
posted by scrump at 11:05 AM on May 13, 2009


What's the age range generally like?
posted by archagon at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2009


I enjoyed the meetups I went to. Both made me a bit nervous, but they were less awkward than the average hang-out-with-a-bunch-of-total-strangers events I've attended. Everyone was nice.
posted by serazin at 11:12 AM on May 13, 2009


What's the age range generally like?

Most of the ones that I've been to have ranged from 18-60-ish with most people being in the 25-45 range.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the age range generally like?

Depends on where you go. At my first meet-up, I was the oldest, and I'm only 29. We started at a restaurant, and it was odd asking for Metafilter in a physical location, but there was already a table full of folks, and it was good. We then went to a near-by saloon, and things got better. We even made a few new friends.

You don't have to drink, and you don't have to talk. If you don't drink and you feel awkward, claim to be (or really be) a designated driver. If you don't talk, people might try talking to you. Don't worry, this is normal.

And I am tempted to use Ambrosia Voyeur's idea, and bring little square post-its with plus signs on them. Maybe that would be a suitable way to identify ourselves in a crowd.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2009


I'm also a non-drinker and very quiet.

I'm a non-drinker who sees myself as socially awkward, and I chickened out of two meetups, then when I finally made one, I walked past the bar to go photograph something "interesting," first. I almost didn't walk back.

Instead of booze, I had the most hilariously bad, tepid coffee served by a hilariously bad, tepid waitress, and it ended up being a touchstone of much hilarity, actually. I had a fantastic time, and it brought me out of my shell a bit on the site, as well now that it's got a bit more of a human face behind all the white text.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2009


Yep, I was as fresh as they come at my first meetup, and it went swimmingly. My local MeFites were very welcoming and I had no trouble having a good time, despite my introversion and lack of MeFi history.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2009


The ones I've been too have mostly been pretty large, with room for freaks and blowhards and the tongue-tied. Much less actual discussion of the site than you'd think. The age range tends to skew a bit young for me, but there is always someone fun to talk to. I've made several friends that I now see outside of meetups.

And of course, there are the couples who hit it off. How many weddings have there been now between mefites who first met over nervous drinks with internet strangers? I personally know of two, and I haven't been to *that* many meetups.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:23 PM on May 13, 2009


The Anniversary Meetup will be my second meetup, which I'm more nervous about than the first because now everyone I met the first time will be offended if I don't remember their names and/or nicknames and I'm often really bad at that.

(But I'll be there.)
posted by JoanArkham at 12:50 PM on May 13, 2009


If you come to Philadelphia, just look for the group of people sharing baked goods covertly. That'll be us.

I went to my first meetup in January, and I'm typically a pretty introverted guy who flakes on a lot of plans because leaving the house is scary and staying in my pajamas and watching Dollhouse just seems like more fun. But MeFi Meetups are guaranteed to get me out of the house. They are just fun.

Just a note: check the site before you go. As jessamyn says, it isn't ALL inside jokes. But there are some, and if you "get" them, it'll be even MORE fun! Watch for any unusual shitstorms that you can laugh about with the crowd. My first meetup was the "Is My Husband Trying to Kill Me" meetup. Our Chinatown meetup was the "omg watch this video of 'there's a wookie in my cabinet'" meetup. And the last meetup was the "RIP sixcolors" meetup. I'm just hoping piratebowling's birthday meetup on Friday doesn't turn into the "OMG Obama is covering for torturers" meetup. -_-
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:58 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


My first meetup, hmmm...

I seem to remember a lot of awkward and uncomfortable silence, what with the furious masturbating in front of everyone, all while trying to maintain a rigid, unblinking eye contact. Then there was the blood; oh god, there was so much blood, and that crazy former Soviet Bloc bluegrass techno someone brought... and there was that lemur.... *shudders*

Hold up.

No.

I'm wrong, all that was later that night.

The meetup itself was nice. Quiet even. A friendly chat with a couple of interesting people who, unlike many social situations, all actually had at least one thing in common with me.

I'd highly recommend going to one. Just make sure you head straight home after.
posted by quin at 1:25 PM on May 13, 2009


I've only been to one, but I had a great time. And I don't like people very much. :-)
posted by rusty at 1:29 PM on May 13, 2009


I've only had one jarring experience at a meetup, and here it is:

I can't remember exactly what I posted, but it was either a comment or a question about something that was happening in my life at that point (for the sake of argument, let's say it concerned radishes). Meetup occurred about a week later, and a fellow Mefite (who I had met in the flesh before) greeted me and then said, "Hey, how are your radishes doing?"

It was a little wake-up call that, yes, people do read what you write on this site and yes, it can make an impression. Your internet life is just as real as your, um, real life.

Also, there is only one "our fair city", and I live in it. So nyah.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2009


Well now that you've been sidebar'd, you're already one-up on most others.
posted by nitsuj at 1:38 PM on May 13, 2009

So far, out of the meetups I've been involved in organizing, we've:
  • Imported cortex from Portland, just for the hell of it.
  • Gone to see dead bodies.
  • Ridden a merry-go-round together.
You forgot
  • almost ruptured your spleen!

  • posted by aubilenon at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    yes, people do read what you write on this site and yes, it can make an impression.

    And those people hate me with the white-hot passion of a million burning suns.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:10 PM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Oh God, backseat - was that me? That sounds like me. I would do that and not consider the impact.

    Crap.

    Anyways, meetups are pure liquid awesome. Wonderful, smart, and funny people from all over your town that you would otherwise never meet get together and you talk about whatever's interesting. When shit hits that "awkward nerd silence" you just fall back on Metafilter or vidoegames to cover the dead space.

    You should totally go.
    posted by Ryvar at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2009


    I'm so glad you asked this question; I was wondering the same thing. The responses have been reassuring. Maybe I'll quit being seized with terror whenever I see there's going to be a meet-up where I live. (Or, more likely: I'll embrace the terror and go anyway.)
    posted by Nattie at 2:21 PM on May 13, 2009


    I'll embrace the terror and go anyway

    Seriously, if you knew what kind of completely maladjusted misanthrope I can be you'd be amazed at the fact that I can go to a meetup and chat and have fun.

    I mean this quite seriously, if I can do it, practically anyone should be able to. It's not like you are going to talk to complete and total strangers, everyone there has a shared background in at least one respect, which means that while you might not agree on everything, you already have a built in collection of in-jokes and anecdotes to talk about. In this respect, going to a meetup is a lot less like meeting strangers than catching up with really old friends that you've just never met before.

    And don't embrace the terror; like I said, run from the lemur. Run fast!
    posted by quin at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2009


    What's the age range generally like?

    I was a bit concerned about that too when I first attended a meetup. I figured I'd be the oldest one there (I'm 41) and feared I would stand out like a sore thumb amongst the "cool kids," or that I'd be the only middle-aged single/divorced person stuck in a sea of sickeningly blissful idyllic couplehood. But that wasn't the case at all. The age range was much wider than I expected, which was a nice treat. No one seemed to care about age or relationship status n the slightest, and there was no exclusionary couple vibe or nerve-wracking meat-market atmosphere at all. Quite the contrary, in fact; it was very relaxed.

    It wasn't difficult to get past any awkwardness, either, because we'd just make some reference to MeFi like "so, did you ever get a chance to read that thread about ____" or "so what made you decide to sign up for a MeFi account?"

    The newbies just started talking to the people who were within easy earshot of us. It was an equal opportunity geek-fest, and it was loads of fun.

    The first meetup is the biggest challenge for many of us socially awkward introvert types. If you can get past your nervousness and go to your first one, though, it'll get easier after that. Try it and see!
    posted by velvet winter at 2:34 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    People recognize my username and go "Oh." I can't tell if this is good or bad.

    I post enough that I got asked about my ex-husband's immigration status at a meet-up... *awkward.* (Though HoraceRumpole really IS a big blue beacon of hope!)

    I'm also a non-drinker. But uh... I'm also really loud. Really. Loud. So, it's probably for the best that I remain sober that anyone else can get a word in edgewise. It's pretty easy to get me going though if you start asking me about longboats (I hope to Dog that video was destroyed).

    Anyhoo... meetups = AWESOME.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2009


    which I'm more nervous about than the first because now everyone I met the first time will be offended if I don't remember their names and/or nicknames and I'm often really bad at that.


    No, they won't. I promise. I've been to many, many meetups and I'm sort of starting to remember a few people's names now and no one else has ever been mad at me for forgetting.

    Other than the people I occasionally see outside of meetup and/or the ones who waited with me when my car got ensmashinated during a meetup[1], I barely remember anyone's name. Everyone reintroduces themselves about 28 times during the night as new people arrive in any case, so you should get plenty of reminders.

    Metafilter meetups are filled with more awesome than you can shake a plate of beans at, and everyone should go, even people who aren't on Metafilter. Metafilter related conversations happen, certainly, but they're not always or even mostly the focus of the night. It's more a discussion of the types of things Metafilter also discusses -- art, nerdiness, games, whether you should DTMFA, etc.

    [1] Since the purpose of this thread is to make people less nervous, I should add, here, that my car was not ensmashinated as a result of any meetup related activities. It was just hit in one of those parking lot things that could have happened anywhere to anyone.
    posted by jacquilynne at 2:42 PM on May 13, 2009




    The Anniversary Meetup will be my second meetup, which I'm more nervous about than the first because now everyone I met the first time will be offended if I don't remember their names and/or nicknames and I'm often really bad at that.

    Oh, man, I suck at names. I think I'm actually a lot better at remember faces-to-usernames than I am faces-to-realnames, but even at that I am, well, a big proponent of nametags.

    After the NYC meetup a couple weeks ago, I had to check flickr the next morning to make sure I even knew who half the people I met were and hadn't gotten things mixed up in all the loud and commotion. Though that had more loud and commotion than a typical meetup, for sure.

    or vidoegames to cover the dead space

    I see what you did there.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2009


    I make everyone write their real names and usernames down on a piece of paper so I can remember them and then I add them as "met" in my contacts here on the site. It's moderately effective for remembering names.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:53 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I know a few people are going to get on my case for this, but I think it's only fair to mention: the first person to fall asleep gets their hand dipped in a bowl of warm water. Or shaving cream in their hand, followed by a tickling of the nose with a feather.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:53 PM on May 13, 2009


    The fistfight at the SXSW meetup was between two guys we're pretty sure had never heard of Metafilter. Besides, they seemed to be enjoying it.

    I almost got involved in it accidentally. Their friends said they had just gotten back from Iraq and were blowing off steam. Now that scares me even more. I had to bail early after arguing with them. Of course the waitress was too busy to even fucking acknowledge it. In their defense, it was an Irish pub.
    posted by mattbucher at 2:58 PM on May 13, 2009


    Oh God, backseat - was that me?

    No, it wasn't you, but I'll withhold names to maintain propriety. Although, it's very likely that it's happened since then and I just haven't noticed.

    I will say that I think the sit-down (e.g., dinner) meetups are only workable up to a maximum of, say, six people. Any larger and you can't see or hear people at the opposite end of the table, and it's often difficult to get up and change places.

    Mefites also seem to be incredibly generous with regards to buying drinks and chipping in for the tab. At one of the past couple of Boston meetups, I was the last person to get the check and we had already covered the entire bill with a 20% tip. I ended up paying more than my full share, too, so that waiter definitely got paid for the hardship of dealing with a table of 28.
    posted by backseatpilot at 3:00 PM on May 13, 2009


    or vidoegames to cover the dead space

    There is not a god damned rental place around here that has that for the Wii. Harumph, motherfuckers.
    posted by middleclasstool at 3:26 PM on May 13, 2009


    Oh thank goodness. As far as sit-down meetups go, I've had fun at a number of 10-15 person ones in the past.
    posted by Ryvar at 3:30 PM on May 13, 2009


    ensmashinated

    How has Metafilter affected my writing? Well, for one, my vocabulary has been embiggened.

    oops, wrong thread
    posted by Devils Rancher at 4:49 PM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Their friends said they had just gotten back from Iraq and were blowing off steam. Really? That adds a whole extra layer to the experience.

    ...although maybe they were just trying to keep warm.
    posted by epersonae at 5:27 PM on May 13, 2009


    oh boy
    posted by doobiedoo at 5:57 PM on May 13, 2009


    You have a perfectly cromulent vocabulary, Devils Rancher.
    posted by barrett caulk at 5:58 PM on May 13, 2009


    The one thing that surprised me about meetups was how many pictures people take
    and how they all end up on The Smoking Gun.
    posted by lukemeister at 7:08 PM on May 13, 2009


    This thread has turned out to be very helpful. Thanks everyone!
    posted by crazyray at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2009


    depends on whether or not jonmc is there.
    posted by lalex at 7:40 PM on May 13, 2009


    I felt pretty shy when I went to my first meetup because I'd been a longtime lurker and had just joined the site when the first Tokyo meetup happened, but I ended up having a great time. So yeah, just go and have fun!
    posted by misozaki at 8:36 PM on May 13, 2009


    The one thing that surprised me about meetups was how many pictures people take

    Meet-ups with me in attendance tend to be a total downer on this front. I'm kind of like a museum piece in that no flash photography is allowed. SORRY DUDEZ.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:36 AM on May 14, 2009


    grapefruitmoon,

    I guess we should stop sending out press releases to the paparazzi for our Denver meetups.
    posted by lukemeister at 7:56 AM on May 14, 2009


    There are a few meetups where people are like "hey I sort of don't want my photo all over Flickr if that's okay" and I think it's always been okay. So even though there are a lot of photos, it's not a prerequisite that you be photographed.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:03 AM on May 14, 2009


    At the last meetup, I just avoided being recorded by "phasing" into a parallel dimension for most of the night.
    posted by Greg Nog at 8:49 AM on May 14, 2009


    Has anyone ever been banned from a meetup?

    No, but jessamyn did knock someone out with a hammer, does that count?
    posted by biffa at 9:06 AM on May 14, 2009


    Also, hugging people you've never met may cause a certain frisson of terror in the recipient. AV was cool about it, but it was perhaps a bit overexuberant of me.
    posted by scrump at 9:36 AM on May 14, 2009


    My first meetup was over an hour drive from my house so I had a while to contemplate whether or not I was going to go in. It was like when I used to call up girls to ask them on dates (before the internets, kids) and then hang up on them when I lost my nerve. As I get older I’ve been forcing myself to conquer my fears so I went in. From the street I saw a couple of MeFi t-shirts so I didn’t have to seach for the group. I walked in, found an empty seat, and found myself sitting across from Jessamyn. She instantly made me feel welcome and found a connection (had her ears pierced in my home town mall when she was eleven.) which put me at ease. Then somehow we got on the subject of birthdays and I found the guy to my left (not_on_display) was born within minutes of me so we instantly had something to talk about (“You always got short changed at Christmas too, didn’t you?” ) and before long I was chatting it up with a bunch of other folks, some whose names I recognized and some I didn’t. Every time I mentioned my username they’d go “Ahhhhhh! Bondcliff.” I couldn’t tell if that was bad or good.

    The second meetup was huge, and #1 was there, as was Jessamyn again. I knew a couple people from the previous one but there were still a lot of new faces. The average age seemed a lot younger than the previous one (Cambridge vs. Northampton) but there was still plenty to talk about and I never once felt out of place.

    It really is a great time if you’re the type who always feels a bit like an outsider at other gatherings. You’re suddenly in a room full of outsiders, which turns them all into insiders. Or something. Anyway, most of them smelled nice.

    And yeah, the constant photography was a bit much but, then again, we are from The Internet.
    posted by bondcliff at 9:45 AM on May 14, 2009


    From the street I saw a couple of MeFi t-shirts so I didn’t have to seach for the group.

    Um, not to open a can of worms or anything, but are t-shirts still available? If not, will they be available for the 10th?
    posted by bristolcat at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2009


    There was a t-shirt thread in February, and Matt said the biggest (but not only) stumbling block is fulfillment logistics.
    posted by Plutor at 10:35 AM on May 14, 2009


    Some manner of t-shirt plan is being fiddled with, fwiw.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2009


    If all else fails, I plan on going to Walgreens and picking up one of their $5 blue t-shirts and Sharpie-ing MeFi on the front.

    On the back maybe I'll do the jersey thing and put my number up there, but knowing my skills it will end up as 1505... 5 where I wrap the last number around the side, because I suck.

    And maybe I'll do some stick figures meeting one another, so I can walk up to strangers and point out how prescient my clothing is.

    Then, on the back, I can have one where my stick figure is drunkenly antagonizing them, so that later, I can say, "See, you laughed before, but I totally predicted this shit... hic!"

    Yeah, this is going to be awesome!

    posted by quin at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2009


    I would like to attend a meetup with TimTypeZed, ook, and everyone else in the same boat: I've done the same thing of turning up to a meetup and then chickening out.

    I've also been to very good meetings, as a relative noob/low-volume poster, and people have been pretty cool. The weird one was the London Obama election party, where nearly everyone was online the whole time, so at times the room was pretty much quiet and I was the only one without a laptop or internet mobile. But then we had a webcam and other MeFites were watching us from the internets and someone complimented my girlfriend's top and told her she should sign up, and generally it was pretty fun.

    And at the (admittedly few) meetings I've been to, there have always been new posters/first-timers and everyone seems to make them welcome.
    posted by Infinite Jest at 1:34 PM on May 14, 2009


    I guess we should stop sending out press releases to the paparazzi for our Denver meetups.

    Nah, that's fine. I'll probably never be in Denver. Invite them in droves!
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:06 PM on May 14, 2009


    So far I've been to only one meet-up, the Tahoe sledding extravaganza.

    There were only a handful of us who actually came to sled, but I invited Aubilenon and Zsazsa and his wife to stay over my house for the weekend. Aubilenon made pizza from scratch and my oven caught on fire. The funnything was everyone had remembered my AskMe post about my smoky oven!

    I think everyone knew each other from previous meet-ups, so I was the newbie but everyone made me feel absolutely welcome. It was a blast and it won't be my last one.
    posted by HeyAllie at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Has anyone ever been banned from a meetup?

    What, you never heard the old RUN DMC track, "Meetup"?

    you're banned from tha meetup
    you're gonna get beat up!
    stay outside while we all drink n' eat up!
    no suckers allowed!
    we're sayin' it loud!
    You're! Not! Part! of the Me! Fi! CROWD!!
    posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


    So, um, when's the next meetup in the NYC metro area?
    posted by digitalprimate at 4:30 PM on May 14, 2009


    [crickets]
    posted by digitalprimate at 6:45 PM on May 14, 2009


    July, presumably.
    posted by dersins at 6:55 PM on May 14, 2009


    Nah, that's fine. I'll probably never be in Denver.

    grapefruitmoon,

    We're trying to organize a Denver meetup for late May/early June. I'm sure we can come up with 20 bucks (same as in town) to help defray your expenses!
    posted by lukemeister at 7:51 PM on May 14, 2009


    Yes, but thankfully no one argues with someone in a 100 foot tall combat robot suit fueled with vodka.

    Funny, you seemed much shorter in person.
    posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:53 PM on May 14, 2009


    We're trying to organize a Denver meetup for late May/early June. I'm sure we can come up with 20 bucks (same as in town) to help defray your expenses!

    Those $20 would get me to Logan Airport and buy me a sandwich. And I do like a good sandwich. But they wouldn't put much of a dent in getting me to DENVER. Maybe next time!
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:28 AM on May 15, 2009


    My first Meetup was only a month after I joined. I walked into the bar, saw a cluster of people at the front, introduced myself (using my REAL name) to someone, and chatted about ten minutes -- then got a bit of a shock when I mentioned my screenname and they got very excited. That's how I learned I post a LOT.

    I go to a lot of the NYC meetups -- we just generally have a lot. They are great fun (hell, since we have both jonmc and Optimus Chyme among our number, things are usually lively), and the NYC meetups have even served as a matchmaking institution in at least one instance.

    I've also been to -- hell, I started -- a meetup in New Orleans. This was only a couple people strong -- just myself, radioamy, ColdChef and his family -- and it was also great fun, with the group of us hanging out on the sidewalk and watching some Mardi Gras parades.

    Generally, it's not like we all sit around talking about Metafilter itself (although, it does occasionally come up sometimes, and people may continue a conversation started on an especially lively thread). Metafilter is more the excuse used to bring a group of people together into the same room, and what happens after that is anyone's guess.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on May 15, 2009


    I've been to two meet-ups. One in Los Angeles that coincided with the E3 convention and was attended by mefites from all over. We went to a great restaurant and much fun was had. I met Scody and DaShiv outside the restaurant actually (somehow we recognized each other through our nerd-dar.)

    The other meetup was in NYC at Manitoba's. I was thrilled to meet jonmc and many others. Jonmc, Afroblanco and I ended up drinking beers on top of an apartment building in the East Village until pretty late.

    I'm pretty sad that there are so few mefites in Columbia, MO. I've tried to have meetups, but the other three people are nonchalant about the whole thing.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should absolutely go to a meet-up...they are crazy fun.
    posted by schyler523 at 8:15 AM on May 15, 2009


    I am going. I always say I should.

    I also am going to a game beforehand so should be turning up well-oiled anyway.
    posted by Frasermoo at 8:47 AM on May 15, 2009


    "I like to reminisce with people I don't know. Granted, it takes longer." Steven Wright said it well before there was a MeFi, but in my head, that's what meetups are like.
    posted by notashroom at 9:17 AM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


    The first time I went to a meetup, I spill beer on cmonkey. The second time I went to a meetup, loquacious spilled beer on cmonkey. The lesson here is that if you're cmonkey, don't go to the same meetups as I do.
    posted by dersins at 9:26 AM on May 15, 2009


    For those who read to the end of this thread, my brief experience with meetups was wholly without cakes of any sort.
    posted by filthy light thief at 10:27 AM on May 15, 2009


    Philadelphia always has baked goods. I'm not saying we're cooler than the rest of you. Just that we have piratebowling, and she's awesome. In fact, we're celebrating her birthday tonight. And we've been promised smores bars AND a variety of macaroni and cheeses. nom nom nom
    posted by greekphilosophy at 10:55 AM on May 15, 2009


    I'm not even going to read this thread because everyone is right. Meetups are great. My only regret in my metafilter life (other than disabling my account for half a year) is that I didn't get to a meetup for well over a year after I signed up - I lived in South Florida, a black hole which even MeFi cannot penetrate (heh).

    If you're worried about your lack of posting (or being associated with an embarrassing askme question) - don't be. No one cares. No one remembers. Especially me since I have some sort of user name blindness in which I can't connect someone to their user name. Even when they tell me what it is repeatedly. Even if they show me their profile on their laptop. They have to be like "Oh one time I posted a really funny animated .GIF and then called the mods communists!" and then I'm like, oh right, you're that guy.
    posted by SassHat at 8:29 PM on May 15, 2009


    I went to my first meetup, on my own birthday I might add, after perhaps 2 comments. The whole experience is so much more fun when there are some faces to the nicknames. If you've never commented, I'll enjoy your comments more, when you do, if I've met you first.
    posted by StickyCarpet at 6:56 PM on May 16, 2009


    Ok, dumb question here but if I want to attend a meetup pre-10th celebration, how/where do I find out where/when the next meet is taking place? I'm in Boston . . . Thanks!
    posted by eggman at 8:13 PM on May 16, 2009


    Generally if you check the sidebar on the main metatalk page, there is a list of upcoming meetups. If there is one in Boston, go to it! If there isn't one, start one!
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:34 PM on May 16, 2009


    I know I always bring this up in meetup threads, and I'm sorry to be such a one-note, but . . . I met my now-husband at the first meetup that I ever attended, which I almost didn't go to because I was a little shy and didn't know what to expect. I often think about how different my life would be now if I hadn't gone to that meetup. I would not be married to a really cool guy who is also my best friend, I would not have an adorable 2-month old sleeping 10 feet away from me, I would not have met a bunch of cool people who are terrific friends to me/us. So, go go go to your local MeFi meetups!

    I spelled mine wrong. What the fuck is "chunking"?

    I know your username is really a reference to the movie but I always think it it is some code phrase about throwing up, e.g., "I had three mojitos and an expired Hot Pocket last night which had me riding the chunking express all night long." For this I am sorry.
    posted by onlyconnect at 11:45 PM on May 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


    I am going to go ahead and close this thread now.... since it seems like there has been so much good conversation but it's wrapped up now. I will re-open it after I attend my first meetup.

    Thanks everyone!!

    What do you mean, it doesn't work like that?


    posted by crazyray at 11:32 PM on May 24, 2009


    At my first meetup (the toronto one with Jessamyn, as mentioned a few times here) I mentioned my username and was about to skim over it, but a couple of people went "OOOOH, you're the RACING CAR guy!" and I was more than a little surprised that anyone knew who the fuck I was, to be honest, especially in any 'instant recall of details' manner. My gast, in fact, was mildly flabbered.

    +1 to the 'perhaps I post more than I realised' comments, here. Or maybe I just post REALLY LOUDLY.

    Possibly that.

    In short, it was more fun than I expected. Despite my pessimistic nature, that is a good thing.
    posted by Brockles at 8:41 PM on May 26, 2009


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