I am doing some preliminary planning to start a Podcaster and/or Blogger Meetup group in the Rio Grande Valley. I know that there is interest in some kind of Internet or technology group in the area. Thus far, nobody has moved to organize a group. I have really enjoyed the friendship and information sharing that I experienced briefly with the San Antonio Podcasters. I would like to bring that to the Rio Grande Valley.
Instinctually, I am against putting money into a meetup group without first knowing if people will show up. However, it's a Catch 22. If I don't pay up, how will others know? So, before I do that, I need to contact potential members and ask them about their level of interest in such a group. As in business, you should find the customers before you commit resources. That is not to say that the group would be a money-making venture. Simply, I should know how popular the idea is before spending my hard-earned money.
Benefits of an RGV Meetup
One thing I have asked myself is, why would I undertake such a project? Why would anybody care? Well, there are some obvious benefits that I have seen with my friends in San Antonio.
- Friendship and Community. It is always great to know people who share your interests. If you play a sport, it's fun to hang out with other players. If you collect stamps, it's good to hang out with other stamp collectors. Similarly, if you are a blogger or podcaster, it makes sense to hang out with other bloggers and podcasters. That's what I want, to hang out with other bloggers and podcasters locally.
- Recognition. As an individual podcaster, you have to work pretty damn hard to get recognition from the online community or even locally. As a part of a Rio Grande Valley Podcaster/Blogger Group, it sounds really official and professional. You get some frakin' respect.
- Knowledge and skill trading. This is perhaps the best benefit of all. Members of a Podcasting or Blogging group can trade knowledge and teach each other skills to help each other improve.
- Networking. You never know if one of the other Podcasters/Bloggers in the group might be a great connection for you in the job market. You're in the group because you have skills or want to get skills. Who better than a fellow podcaster or blogger to recognize your skills and recommend you for a project of job?
- Link trading. This is vital to get your podcast or blog off the ground. You are more likely to link to people you know than somebody you don't. As a group, you can easily spread link love to give each others sites more exposure.
I am sure that there are more compelling reasons to organize a group; but this is all I could think of at this time.
I am slighlty apprehensive at the undertaking because I don't know how it will turn out. I have a rough idea, but no detailed plan. All I can do is what Jack Welch said about strategy, "pick a general direction and implement like hell."