I've had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of you but considering I have 1500+ members in the 6 groups I run, I've probably only met a quarter or less of you. So, I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself.
My name is Dana. I originally hail from Vermont, but I have lived in NH, MA, and RI. I moved to Memphis in 2006. I have worked at FedEx and now work at Medtronic. I'm a computer geek, love food, the outdoors, and trying new things. I'm an INTP (Google it) and, believe it or not, run shy.
I started organizing groups for several reasons. First and foremost was to overcome shyness, meet new people, and work on an area of weakness, interpersonal intelligence. There is more to that last part, ask if you are interested.
It has been an amazing but challenging 6 years. I have had the pleasure of swapping stories with folks from Malaysia, Palestine, Vietnam, Germany, South Americas, .... and from all over the United States. I have been humbled and blessed by talking to some truly amazing people. Out of the hundreds of Meetups I have attended, 99.9% have been absolutely amazing.
However, there are three things I'd like to address: no shows, not reading meetup descriptions, and criticisms. These may not apply to many of you but I have no way to target specific people. Sorry:(
First, no shows and lateness. In the past week, I have hosted a hike, dinner, and BBQ. The hiking group had 10 out of 20 and the Dining Out had 3 out of 8 members show up as promised. Please remember, when you RSVP, that you are telling me (or one of my assistants) and the other members that you will meet us somewhere at a specific time. Ahead of time, I, personally, get excited to meet you (or see you again). The members that show up and I look for you at the time you agreed to show up. When you don't show up, I'm saddened and a little miffed. So are the members who showed up on time as promised. I understand people forget but when ten people "forget" (or can't be bothered to take a few seconds to update their RSVP), it is upsetting. After an event with a no show rate of about half, I go through an internal debate about keeping going as an organizer. It overshadows the entire event and saps my energy and enthusiasm for organizing as a whole.
Next, when I (or my assistants) organize a Meetup, we usually post a full description of the event. Unfortunately, the full description does not appear on the mobile apps that most of you are using. Please, before emailing a question, texting, calling, or commenting.... READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION on the website. Howard and other organizers field tons of redundant questions that were answered in the full description. It makes organizing more adventurous and different Meetups a challenging and frustrating process.
Which brings me to my last point (finally), criticism. Other organizers and I have been criticized for a number of things. Most recently, it was for not having more "adventurous" Meetups. Before complaining, please take a minute to think about the fact that WE DO NOT GET PAIDto do this. We organize for free, volunteering and our time and effort. On top of that, weSPEND money. At minimum, there is the cost of gas and usually food. Additionally, I actually have to PAY Meetup to run my groups. We take time out of our hectic daily lives to try and bring folks from all over the world together for an awesome event. To donate time, money, and effort for 6 years and get criticized for not doing enough is a slap in the face.
If you want more adventurous Meetups, try asking us how you can help instead of berating us publicly in front of 1200+ members and untold number of visitors to the group. You want a kayaking Meetup, take a few seconds to google an outfitter and call them for details. If you want Meetups on a different day, time, or place.... take a minute and use the Suggest a Meetup feature. Even better, become an assistant.
So please, remember, before you pull a no show, ask already answered questions, and/or vent about our inadequacies as organizers, please take a moment to realize there are people on the receiving end of your (perhaps unintentionally) inconsiderate action(s).
For those of you that do show (or let us know that you can't make it), do read event descriptions, thank us for organizing events, and/or donate to the cause, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! It is because of you that my assistants and I have kept going for 6 years dedicating thousands of hours (and dollars) to running these groups. We cannot thank you enough. It is because of you that we have persevered!