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Meetup Coming Up


There is an Austin Blogger Meetup:

Wednesday, Feb 19 @ 7PM
Spider House
2908 Fruth St
Austin, TX 78705

It's a good idea to register on the site, because you get to have a say in the venue and also get email reminders of the monthly get-togethers.

Chip says, "Meetups are independent of any organization (except meetup.com). So, they aren't an "official Austin-Bloggers happening" (whatever that means). Nonetheless, there is sure to be huge overlap between our group and the Meetup attendees."

I've been to all but one of these, and it's been a great way to say "Hi" to fellow Central Texas bloggers (I can't say "Austin" bloggers, really, because they've come from all over the surrounding area). There seems to be a revolving cast of attendees with some folks that remain consistent. In my opinion they get better and better every time. The conversation really has been pretty diverse (sometimes techie, sometimes social, and sometimes political), but all-in-all, it's just about getting together with like-minded people who do this online self-publishing thing.

The groups have tended to be anywhere from 6-12 people...

Some tips and random thoughts for newcomers (because I know it can be intimidating>:

  • Don't be worried about having trouble finding the group once you are at the venue. I usually come early and put up an obvious sign for our meeting spot.
  • Feeling awkward or shy about a group of strangers? Please, please understand that these folks are very welcoming and are actually very eager to meet new people. It's really very easy to "break into" the group.
  • If you find yourself not understanding something, by all means stop and ask questions. This is as much about learning as it is about talking.
  • I'm not going to lie to you: sometimes the conversation gets geeky. While that's perfectly ok, if you're not interested, politely say so - or bring up a new topic, and the coversation will change. This group is interested in a lot of things!
  • Bring your camera, take a picture, and BLOG about the event, naturally. Sometimes the best conversations happen AFTER the event... on comments on each others' entries.
  • Bring a pad of paper to jot down any thoughts that cross your mind... there are some good ideas that fly around.
  • Some folks bring "swag" or promotional/business cards for their blog. I love getting those. Just a way to get out your URL (instead of having people try to copy it down)... a real opportunity for creativity, actually.
  • Nobody has done this yet, so here's your chance to be a pioneer: Bring your laptop and wireless network card (almost all the venues provide access) and BLOG THE EVENT IN REAL TIME!
  • Bring a friend!
  • Come even if you don't have a blog... it's a chance to learn a little bit about what the whole thing is about.
  • Bring a couple of bucks to buy something from the venue (a cup of coffee, a beer, food, whatever)... they're not getting anything from hosting us, and it's a small way to help out local, Austin establishments.
  • Be ready to talk about "What you do in real life and why do you blog?" My observation is that's a question that tends to come up as icebreakers for newcomers; it helps everyone understand where you're coming from.
  • Do some "research": The meetup page usually has several URLs for people attending... go read their blogs- it's quite impressive and wins you karma points if you show you're reading what other people write... not to mention that you'll have a better feel for who's who.
  • Subscribe to the austinbloggers mailing list to read what people are posting, to start recognizing names of the more active/outspoken members, and maybe use the list to introduce yourself and let us know you're coming.
  • I'm looking forward to meeting and seeing you there!


Anyone know if Spider House has wireless internet?

I spent some time surfing for the answer, and it seems, sadly, no...

Incidentally, a handy guide is at:

www.austinwireless.net (look at their Node Listing)

However, rumor has it that this list misses a few spots here and there; I did some google-fu and found an old comment on geekaustin.com that claimed a no-go for wireless at Spider House.

Sad, actually. That would make this spot perfect.

Maybe we can lobby Meetup to put wireless-friendly choices in their voting. But if I wanted to get totally geeky, I can either blog from my Treo or use it as a wireless modem and blog from my new cute little 12" Powerbook. Dunno if I'm ready for strangers to see the true extent of my geekiness yet. Even when I was blogging from the Jewel concert the other night, I went off in private to do it so nobody could see.

Spider House added wireless internet access this month. Fast and free.