I love hiking, travel, photography, art, and looking for peaceful places in a busy cityscape. I'm also dabbling in some travel writing - https://tinamaleela.home.blog
Published November 8th 2018
Whether you are new to Brisbane, have lived here for yonks, or are a born-and-bred local, there's a plethora of interests that Meetup can offer to expand your social life. Firstly though, to set the record straight, Meetup is NOT a dating site. It comprises community-driven clusters of interest groups - anything from bitcoin to robotics and jazz to Zumba. And it's for anyone and everyone - from professional single parents to GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered) to social over-50s.
So if you're looking for specific interest groups to hang out with, you can sign up with meetup.com (phone app is best) and connect with groups in your area. It may be a life-changing decision as you'll make many new friends and find endless events to attend. And if you travel to other cities or countries, there's a good chance you can find friendly meetup groups to join as a visitor.
Once you've joined groups you're interested in, you will be notified of any upcoming meetups and have the chance to RSVP online. The host or organiser can be contacted if you have any questions or you may "start a discussion" on the group's page. For example, a single female traveller may want to find out if anyone wants to consider sharing a cabin on a cruise, or you may want to request a share ride to attend a day hike at the Gold Coast hinterland.
Meetup events will vary in frequency depending on the organiser. There are some very active organisers who host at least four activities a month. Some charge a small $2 fee per attendance to cover some of their admin costs (they are charged a monthly fee by meetup.com).
If you can't find a group that's quite right for you, why not start up your own? Through the Meetup app, you can take charge of arranging meetups for your pet interest.
History of Meetup
The Meetup idea was created by New Yorker Scott Heiferman with co-founders Matt Meeker and Brendan McGovern. On 12 June 2002, meetup.com was launched. Then in a release 10 years later, Scott Heiferman wrote: "Many people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby…I was living a couple of miles away from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbours was when I hoped they wouldn't bother me."
After 9/11, Scott said he became more concerned about and friendly towards his neighbours. Meetup took root in this environment and was designed to "bring people together in a lasting way". It was also a way to strengthen communities and to "use the Internet to get off the internet". Importantly, it countered the distrust felt after the terrorism of 9/11.
Goodwill bridge - one of Brisbane's four iconic bridges crossed over by Meetup group Hiking South East Queensland (author's photo)
Now, millions of people in over 100 countries have formed their own special-interest meetup groups. For those involved, it provides a fantastic variety of weekend as well as weekday activities in which to participate and there is never a dull moment for those who immerse themselves in the rich diversity of these groups.
Here is a list of current meetup categories within which groups can be formed:
Career & business
Fashion & beauty
Food & drink
Health & wellness
Hobbies & crafts
Language & culture
Outdoors and adventure
Sci-Fi & games
Sports & Fitness
Luminous Lantern Parade attended by the Culture Vultures Meetup group (author's photo)