MEETUP.COM

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - SOCIAL NETWORK -

A word of warn­ing, be­fore you head for this web­site. First-timers tend to get swept away by the choice of ac­tiv­i­ties in their lo­cal area. They of­ten sign up with a belly-danc­ing group that meets ev­ery Tues­day in the lo­cal cen­tre for multi-cul­tural one­ness. (That’s the par­ish hall, with three new cush­ions and a lava lamp.) Any­way, we’ve checked, and noth­ing good has ever come of an Ir­ish per­son who de­cides to be­come a belly dancer. There is plenty of ev­i­dence on YouTube, if you have the stom­ach for it. (The dancers cer­tainly don’t.)

Any­way, meetup.com. It’s not ex­actly new, hav­ing been around since 2002. This is a plus. On­line meet­ing places usu­ally need a bit of time be­fore they at­tract peo­ple who aren’t nerds or pervs. (Or both, says you, af­ter that Tin­der date with a soft­ware an­a­lyst called Derek.) A quick look at meetup.com shows there is some­thing for ev­ery­one in your lo­cal area. The first page for Cork in­cludes groups of run­ners, writ­ers, en­trepreneurs, ve­g­ans, yoga types and peo­ple try­ing to learn Span­ish. You get the sense that a lot of non-na­tion­als use the site, as there isn’t a group called Mad for the Pints. (Al­though we have our sus­pi­cions about one called Rugby Fans.)

A key fea­ture meetup.com is you can browse pho­tos of these groups in ac­tion. These pho­tos in­clude Ir­ish peo­ple, so half the crowd are pulling a ‘crazy’ face be­cause we are self-con­scious about be­ing an ugly race. But once you get over this, it’s a great way to eval­u­ate your new bud­dies. This is im­por­tant. Let’s face it, there is noth­ing worse than a gang of ugly friends.

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