Saturday, 13 January 2018

A Social Group.... but not Meetup

Let me start by explaining the photo! This is a bar close to where I am living and these guys were playing tunes on YouTube to their neighbours at 11pm at high volume when I arrived. I chose "Song in your Heart" and "Despacito" because those were the songs that my friends in the Philippines were playing incessantly - it drove me nuts! I did ask if their neighbours appreciated the music but their reply was that the bar closed at 3am. I showed the photo to Nini the next day but she was not amused.
Last night I went to a social group, rather like my Meetup group in Girona but they publicise the group on Facebook and I only heard about it by chance. Before I came here, I started my own Meetup group called, "Pereira Social Meetup" and I have 8 members, our first meetup is on Tuesday. One of my members, Adrián, told me about the Facebook group so we both went along last night. I had become frustrated because there are two big Meetup groups here but there are no events and the Organisers didn't respond to my messages. So I decided to start my own!
But I made several friends last night, it was a great evening, I guess there were about 20 there at one stage, more guys than girls. And I made some useful contacts including a guy who gave me the phone number of the organiser of the group. Last night, no one was actually "leading" the group. They just turn up every week. So I will phone the organiser and suggest we get together, use Meetup to publicise the regular meetings and also to add other events. Several people last night really liked the idea, so I was happy! I made it clear that I wasn't setting up in competition, of course not. They didn't think that for a minute. I dislike Facebook but I am a great fan of Meetup. And maybe we can find out what happened to those two big groups. There are other Meetup groups in Pereira but they are mainly to do with IT. And they don't have events either. There seemed to be a real desire last night for a group such as Meetup with lots of different events. I suggested drawing, walking... all kinds of things. One guy opposite me, Sebastian, modestly told me he drew for pleasure. He is an engineer and we talked about the mixture of art and technology. He showed me a couple of digital paintings of his on his phone, they were absolutely superb. Next time we meet, I will tell him that I am currently reading the biography of Leonardo de Vinci. A mixture of art and science if ever there was one.
A lot of the conversation was in English because many Colombians here want to improve their English but I am far happier talking in Spanish. When I was talking one to one, we could mix English and Spanish.
This morning I created another event in my group: "Let's join Conversation Pereira", for next Friday. One solution is for me to re-name my group with the same name. Several people expressed a surprise that organising a Meetup group isn't free! I explained that is a big company based in New York. There is a server to pay for. 100 people with various skills, social and technical work there. How can that possibly be free? There is no advertising revenue, the Meetup websites are completely free of advertising apart from sponsors which the Organiser can obtain. I do that in Spain and the revenue from that pays for my Meetup group here also because I can have up to 3 groups for the same price. It is about €72 a year. I think they would be amused to know that they are helping support a Meetup group in Colombia!


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