Tragedy Inspires Community

A tragedy happened 10 years ago. One of the side effects was a resurgence of people seeking out community. They turned to each other for support and behaved, well, neighborly. From this movement, Meetup was created. 10 years and 10 million meetup users later, people have used the internet to find strangers with common interests and friendships were born that never would have happened.  

9/11 didn’t make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn’t rip us apart. No, we’re building new
community together.” – Scott Heiferman & Meetup Team

Let’s dedicate ourselves to create more community in our lives. No matter what that looks like.  I’m excited to explore this idea more in my personal life. Join me.

Have you taken part in a Meetup? I would love to hear about your experience.

Here’s the email that inspired this 12:28am blog post.

Fellow Meetuppers,

I don’t write to our whole community often, but this week is
special because it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many
people don’t know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles
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 neighbors was when I
hoped they wouldn’t bother me.

When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors
in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to
neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they’d normally
ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each
other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being
neighborly.

A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring
people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was
born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and
grow local communities?

We didn’t know if it would work. Most people thought it was a
crazy idea — especially because terrorism is designed to make
people distrust one another.

A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months
after 9/11.

Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it’s
working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups,
Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups… a wild variety of
100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common — except one
thing.

Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to
neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and
motivate each other, they babysit each other’s kids and find
other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace
together. They make friends and form powerful community. It’s
powerful stuff.

It’s a wonderful revolution in local community, and it’s thanks
to everyone who shows up.

Meetups aren’t about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it
weren’t for 9/11.

9/11 didn’t make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn’t rip us apart. No, we’re building new
community together!!!!

The towers fell, but we rise up. And we’re just getting started
with these Meetups.

Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
September 2011

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One thought on “Tragedy Inspires Community

  1. Keridwyn, thanks for the email comment. It took a bit of sleuthing to find you and find this post. For some reason, your comment wasn’t posted on my blog, but I’m very grateful you took the time to say something. So often we put things “out there” and don’t know if they land anywhere.Cheers and thanks again, Terri

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