14 June, 2012
Toronto Friends is one of the most active Meetup groups on Meetup.com… their message boards seem full of engaged responses, and there’s always something fun going on. Michael and Christine, two of the veteran organizers on the group, put out a call for a ‘Summer Solstice’ After Work Mixer at Pogue Mahone (777 Bay).
While the group missed the mark on the summer solstice, the event itself was definitely on the mark – timed after work, in a downtown location office goers could easily get to, and – did the organizers say – free appetizers? No wonder there was a crowd! 120 people attended this very successful event and the ratings on the meetup group the next day spoke volumes.
|Crowded bar = successful event|
Me at the Event
I was curious to check out the vibe among a group of virtual strangers. While I’ve heard of Meetup, I was aware that a similar website wasn’t ever set up back home because of the rampant dangers of crowd control. Especially given that this particular meetup was at a bar with free appetizers, I was definitely looking forward to seeing the crowd that came out.
I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and range of the group. You see immigrants from all nations in Toronto, of course, but until you gather a random sampling in a room, you don’t quite realize how diverse the groups that coexist in the city are. I met a lot of interesting people from a host of different countries, and I’m looking forward to many more meetup groups, now that my back-of-the-mind concerns about safety have been addressed!
What I loved: The sheer mix of people, the palpable energy in the crowd… and the fact that for relative introverts, there was a quieter area where they sat around on bar stools and interacted with people who came up to them (very helpful when you have a husband who likes to take his time before opening up! :))
What I didn’t love: I met at least 40 people that night, and not one of us had had an appetizer, free or otherwise. I wonder where they went? We could see them, we could smell them, but somehow, we never quite got them on our plates.
Overall: I’m definitely going to be attending more meetups, hopefully some with themes that I’m interested in. Book clubs & digital media professionals, here I come!