Facebook, Meetup & Me

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Image by tierramwilson via Flickr

Tonight I am giving a little talk at my good mate @BernieJMitchell's London Meetup Organisers Group, (they are people who organise groups in London using the site - Meetup.com - does what it says on the tin really doesn't it?!)

The subject of the talk and the prezi below is looking at how you can use Facebook and Meetup together to get people more engaged in community groups.

Meetup and Facebook share a lot of similarities so it's great to see how you can integrate the two together. Meetup's themselves have been springing up recently around all sorts of subjects, from the #140conf meetup groups that me and Bernie and others (@LeeSmallwood and @JeffPulver) have been involved with for a year or so now, to groups around Mashable, Evernote and the Huffington post.

Some of the most interesting London groups include:

All well worth checking out... And now for the Prezi...

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Learning to be alone

When was the last time that you were alone? I mean truly alone. Not on the way to work, or in Starbucks before a meeting or even on the toilet. When were you last truly cut off, intentionally - seperate? We have never been so connected, so immersed, so attached as we find ourselves today. We sit in on the tube idly fiddling with iPhones and Blackberry's. I find myself constantly connected via twitter of facebook or foursquare to my extended network.

The truth is that it's very rare for us to be alone any more.  Which get's me wondering if that's ok or not? I think maybe not - which may seem odd coming from me. My job is getting people to talk more, to share, to connect. Even here, writing this now I have email open, tweetdeck, the TV on in the background and my iPhone in my pocket.

Introspection

I think by never truly being alone, we find ourselves missing out on something truly key to who we are - introspection. Seeing who God has made us to be, who we are becoming, or worse striving to become like. I think we fear that element of looking at ourselves in case we don't like what we see when we go there - but we must.

Jesus called us to 'be still and know that I am God' - That is pretty tricky to do with all these distractions, so I have a challenge for you - find some time this week to be alone. Take a look at where you have come from, where you are going and where you are - because it's in that place of alone-ness that we see how valuable our connectedness really is.

*Thanks to @flowerdust for her post "Do You Feel Lonely?" - which prompted this Lamentation*
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Becoming a dispenser

Tokyo, Tokyodome Baseball If you have been to a festival, rugby match, football game, or in some cases even the odd school fete, you will have no doubt come across a strange looking fellow or lass with a large barrel beer or pint of "The Black Stuff" strapped to their back, holding a spout, ready to fill your cup with their hoppy beverage. These things are not a bad idea at all. The beer comes to you and it often turns up again when the glass is empty. Someone one day thought about using the technology of portable cooling, filtration and storage, saw the problem of people cramming up to heavily packed bars in stadiums, and fixed one of the truly annoying parts of live events - just simply getting a drink.

I think this little innovation paints a brilliant picture of what is going on around us now. We can all be dispensers. We all have the potential to use a little bit of technology and share what we have with the world, in a way that is truly useful. So how do you go about being a dispenser?

What's in your barrel?

Working out what kind of brand you have in your barrel is often more difficult that getting out there and sharing it (after all, twitter and Facebook aren't all that difficult really...  I mean if 500 Million people can do it...). Each of us has been packed with a truly UNIQUE set of giftings, skills and a past that makes us full of great stuff. We had the potential to be a dispenser of that uniqueness - and the first step to dispensing it, is know what you have. So take stock of it? What do you have that you can give away?

  • What knowledge? What Experience?
  • What connections? What Network?
  • What assetts? What information?
  • Work out what is in your barrel...

Learn to pour it out

Learning to dispense what you have I think is a two part deal, one if a attitudinal, one is a technical.

First - the technical.

This bit is easy. Just get on with it. Can you write a blog about your experience? Can you create a great presentation and share it on Scribd? Can you create a great set of infographics and get them up on Flickr?

Or can you just meet up with someone to share an experience over a latte? (Above all the twittering and blogging I do - this remains my single favorite way of sharing with people).

Second - The attitudinal

Being a dispenser however requires openess. Openess to be opposed, rejected, applauded, revered, belittled and in many cases ignored. This is a matter of the heart as much as it is of the head. If you are ready to share what you have, then be ready to face up to what people may have to say about it - and if you are really ready to be a dispenser, then be ready to share and encourage that constructive critisism. This is something I have learned and love about some of the best dispensers I know.

Tear up the bar tab

What I have found the most rewarding about being a dispenser, is the one thing that the beer dispensers at a Rugby ground cannot do - a dispenser creates new dispensers. You see - when we begin to pour out what we have into others, we see it well up in them, and sooner or later like when a beer glass overflows people become so full of what we and pour into them, they cannot help but dispense it themselves. now that's exciting...

Your 2pence worth...

  • How do you choose to give away what you have?
  • What are the barriers that get in the way of you living the life of a dispenser?

*I felt compelled to share this thought after a talk at our church @stmaryslondon, by our senior pastor Barry Kissell. Barry spoke on how we can share the Holy Spirit because we each have him in us, and therefore we can be dispensers of the spirit to others. I think this is a reality for many Christians, but something that applies to all people, no matter what your faith (or absence of it).*

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