Meetup Magic – Connecting with Online Friends Offline | LYBL VBlog

What is Meetup? Meetup is a formal/ informal get together, where people who know/doesn’t know each other online can meet in person. Do you meet your online friends offline? No matter whether you are using Social Networks for just making new friends or for building meaningful connections as a professional, you should consider attending Meetup.

How did I start

You know I was very shy and introvert kind of person (I still am, little bit). And for this I couldn’t make much friends in my school life or college life. And this was one of my very few regrets in life. But when I started using Social Networks, I felt quite comfortable to interact with people online. Started with Orkut (deleted the profile for good). I joined Twitter on 2009. Made some friends from Kolkata. Then suddenly one day they informed me that they planned a Tweetup (Meetup for Twitter friends) & whether I could come or not. Honestly I was bit scared. Being from a small town Midnapur, I used to feel bit uncomfortable with people from cities like Kolkata. But I wanted to get over it. That’s why I went & had really great time.

kolkata-tweetup-2009

kolkata-tweetup-2009

31st December 2009, Kolkata Tweetup, Manisquare Mall Where I first met Anirban

31st December 2009, Kolkata Tweetup, Manisquare Mall
with Kuntal (my left) & Anirban

Met some new people there, whom I didn’t know earlier. When got back home, added them online. Got to know each other.

In march 2010, I attended Kolkata Twestival organized by Webreps.in and Kolkata Tweetup team. This event was organised to raise charity for some worthy cause. As far as I can remember, it had some painting exhibition & cultural program by SOS Village, some Bangla Band performance, and speech by Great Bong.

Kolkata Twestival 2010

Kolkata Twestival 25th March 2010

After that I attended India Twitter Conference (IndiaTC) hosted by Compare Infobase Limited. Met some real experienced people in this event. I’ll remember this event most for meeting film maker Subrata Sen.

India Twitter Conference 2010, Kolkata

India Twitter Conference 2010, Kolkata

India Twitter Conference 2010, Kolkata

India Twitter Conference 2010, Kolkata

After that we met next in Dec 2010 again in a larger Tweetup.

Sourav Ghosh at Kolkata Tweetup Manisquare

at Kolkata Tweetup, Dec 2010

Sourav Ghosh at Kolkata Tweetup Manisquare

at Kolkata Tweetup, Dec 2010

Sourav Ghosh at Kolkata Tweetup Manisquare

at Kolkata Tweetup, Dec 2010

It was really awesome experience! I met so many amazing people in these three events ( I attended another one but can’t remember). People from different background & different profession (different age too) coming together to exchange thoughts – real valuable experience.

How did it stop

After that Tweetup in 2010, I got busy in my personal & professional life. I guess most of others too. Though there were many small Meetups in these last 3-4 years, but I couldn’t attend. College was over. Left my mess in Shibpur & returned to my hometown in Midnapur. My visit to Kolkata became less frequent. But I really missed these events & the amazing people.

And then I resumed again …

That’s why when last December’13 , some of those friends proposed to meet again (after 3 years!!!), I didn’t miss the chance. We met at the new Quest Mall on 22nd Dec’13. Had a great time. I wasn’t feeling that I didn’t know these people in real life. Staying connected online for 3 years developed a real strong bond that I felt so familiar with them.

kolkata-tweetup-2013

sourav-ghosh-kolkata-tweetup-2013

They took me to Compass’13 a tech exhibition. I have never seen such events. It was really a whole new experience for me.
kolkata-tweetup-2013

Some friends couldn’t make it to that event, that’s why when got a chance to meet them last 9th Feb’14 in Unconference (a conference without any agenda), I rushed to Kolkata.

unconference-meetup-kolkata-sourav-ghosh

Felt great to meet Twitter friends after 3 years! Got to know some interesting new people too. Had discussions on a wide range of topics like Business, marketing, branding, social media, life, programming etc. Never knew it’s possible to discuss so many topics within such short time.

Awesome people I met on Meetups

How can this post be complete without mentioning those amazing people I met in these Meetups? These people directly or indirectly made huge differences in my life. Some as friends, some as brothers or sisters, some as mentors.

  • Anirban Saha. I met him when he was just a student. Over the years he grew into one my inspirations & social media idols. I published his interview recently here in my blog. 
  • Aritra Sen. He is like my first Twitter best friend. Such a nice guy. I could connect to him so easily. He is working in IBM now. I bought souravghosh.com domain name being inspired by his website. I met him twice in between (once in Malda, where both of us were for some meetings, but he took time to meet). He introduced me to these meetups and many of my online friends.
  • Kuntal Gupta. Cool dude. Master of mischief. Named me “Baba Ramdev Jr.” for my inspirational updates. Wedding photographer by profession, but a tech expert too. I disturb him whenever I get stuck in anything related to my PC or Tab. Anyone would have felt irritated, but not him.
  • Bibhas Debnath: Another very talented developer. He is the guy who organized those two tweetups in 2009 & 2010 and the one in last Dec’13. Thanks to him I came to know about the concept of Meetup.
  • Rajesh Pandey. Young smart brother. Running business & writing Android tips. Suffered once by not listening to him before buying mobile, not again.
  • Shahnawaz Haque. Another IBMer. He is like download expert. Whenever I can’t find download link of anything, he is the man I contact. Very simple & nice person. Spent great time with him in last Tweetup’13.
  • Sanjib Chakravorty. Aritra introduced me to Sanjibda after some events. Very fascinating Bengali Entrepreneur running Social Media Marketing company SocialF5. He has some unique sense of humor. And thanks to him, my written English improved a lot. Nice to have a supportive elder brother like him.
  • Subrata Sen. I guess you know him. Bengali film maker. I always loved his films. Totally unique taste. Meeting him in person in one of these Meetups was like a dream coming true for me. Can’t believe that I actually could interact with him on Twitter quite a few times.
  • Shilpa Shrivastava. Met Shilpadi first time in 2010 year end Tweetup and then in last 9th Feb’14 Unconference. She is a Social Media manager. She is so nice online. But when I met her last week, I realized she is nicer in real life. She is really a ‘social’ & ‘networker’ in the true sense of the term. She arranges and attends Meetups consistently. I am observing her online for all these years. She really connects with people. And also she connects people to each other.
  • Sumana Chakraborty. Online brand strategist. I still remember how I met Sumanadi online. She thought my twitter account was a twitter bot, seeing my follower count ( 8K at that time possibly). Then I saw her on Twestival, couldn’t talk much. She was very busy in organizing. But over the years, the love & affection I got from her as a younger brother can’t be expressed in words.
  • Ramanuj Mukherjee. I’m so glad that I met him in 2010 Tweetup before he shifted to New Delhi. A legal expert and an Entrepreneur, running iPleaders.
  • There are many more like Ashish Mohta, Ulhas Golcha, Mitesh Ashar really interesting individuals.
  • Recently I met some fascinating people in these Meetups like Rohiteshda (Running CityNaksha), Pradiptada (running own 3D architecture company), Richa (running own Marketing & Communication Company), Sumantro (a young Tech Wizard). Looking forward to know them better.
  • Wish I could mention each and everyone I met. Even if I miss mentioning someone, all these people are really important to me.

You know without these Meetups or these people, my life would have been much difficult in all these years. My decision to build Home Based Business online didn’t make much sense to my family. My mom still thinks that I am wasting my time infront of computer, I should do something real going to some office or something like that. Everyone raised eyebrows with my interest with social media. I was learning amazing power of Internet and Social Media but couldn’t find anyone in my family to discuss with. These friends made me feel that I was not alone. I’m really grateful to all these people.

Have you ever attended any Meetups? What is your experience? Can we meet? Drop me a line & let’s decide a Meetup.