Under the existing circumstances, we are all looking for ways to continue our connections normally made at in-person meetups by going virtual.
It makes sense.
I am all for this move. It’s a needed solution. But something about it’s been nagging at me— small, yet worth pondering.
Virtual Meetups: an Option, Not a Replacement
Many meetups have added virtual to their menu, bringing in speakers from around the world to present to their local audience. I believe from that we will also discover other creative ways to bring the online experience to our meetups.
But as an added benefit, not a replacement.
Meetups Add Local Flavor
In the startup days, WordCamps were considered a local, grassroots effort. They still are to an extent. But as out-of-town speakers and the global reach globally took off, a bit of that was lost. But I’m not here to talk about WordCamps.
In the current environment, we are getting the opportunity to explore meetups around the world. As they go online, your curiosity of what goes on at the London WooCommerce meetup may pique your interest as you sit at your desk in Los Angeles. Or you may have heard about the one meetup that is really kicking butt over in India and you would like to see what they are doing.
Or you are suffering from social distancing anxiety and feel the need to jump onto meetups around the world weekly.
All of that is cool.
But let’s not lose the original reason behind local meetups. The key word here is local. I feel that is where the energy should remain because that is how we bring our communities together. And when you look for speakers, why not dive into the pool of talent within your local reach?
Another suggestion: learn how to build local virtually. During this time, you might be able to recruit new members who were either reluctant or didn’t physically attend for some reason. For instance, they are just a bit too far away to drive. But after this period, they may just take that extra time and join you at some in-person.
Welcome the World, but Stay Local
The Woo community is huge. And with every effort we take that down a bit. When it comes to the local meetup, we want to keep it there.
So I would suggest as you go virtual, welcome the world but don’t forget your roots. Especially when we are ready to have those in-person meetups again. Having this chance to experiment is our opportunity to grow our meetups creatively yet keep them planted locally.
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