Do you ever feel like it’s become an online world and not a face-to-face one? If you happened to stop by Industrial Revolution on Wednesday, March 2nd between 6-9pm, you would have noticed that the bar area was very crowded and the meeting place for the first official "NWIMeetUp". What’s an NWIMeetUp you ask? It is where the people who meet up on Twitter or other forms of social media get together to meet face to face regularly throughout the year. Previously called "NWITweetups" due to their social media background, this event symbolized the merger of social and digital interaction.
Barb Henry, Manager at Industrial Revolution said, “It’s absolutely fabulous” that they were picked as the venue to host the NWIMeetUp and enjoys being a part of community events.
Tonight was a special NWIMeetUp; it was called The Originals, Bringing it Home, as all the originals that were part of starting this group were in attendance.
CEO and Founder of Ideas in Motion Media Chris Mahlmann was happy to host the event and have the opportunity to reconnect with the original group of visionaries who created this series of social get-togethers.
"This is about meeting new people and hearing about the latest developments in the community," said Mahlmann. "We wanted to bring it back to reflect on where this all started and through our support, we can all rise together."
Kathy Sipple, who is credited with starting the regular networking events along with Steve Dalton, shared her very personal reason for doing them. In July of 2008, Kathy's sister had a brain injury that put her in a coma. “I didn’t have her address book, emails, or phone numbers because my sister lived in Detroit at the time. Social Media was important for me as a tool,” explained Kathy.
She used social networks, especially Facebook, to connect with her sisters friends to let them know what had happened. Six months later Kathy’s sister was out of the hospital and has since written a book about her experience. While in Detroit with her sister, Kathy attended some MeetUp’s and decided to try organizing an event to combine with her success in connecting with others through social media back in NWI.
Amid laughs, smiles and lots of talking the originals were able to connect with each other and those who have since joined the group, which has been meeting since July 2009.
Another one of the originals, Nat Finn, was also happy to share the theme of the night digitally as he was not able to attend. He did, however, send a message that shares his passion about the importance of community and communication.
"I would suggest to the community to continue to listen to these folks hosting tonight. They have a lot of great ideas. They'll show you how to grow online. They won't do it to keep themselves relevant. They'll do it to keep the community up to date. The rules of "local business" are changing, especially with more and more work being done online," wrote Finn. "You are here because you want to be the ones folks buy or hire. Learning how to use digital tools will help your businesses adjust and grow. This focus is what helps separate Ideas in Motion from the first gen of tech companies in the area."
Rahsaan Taylor also one of the originals had the longest running consecutive attendance streaks for Tweetups, going for three years straight until he had to miss one. Then Dave Woodson took over the title. Rahsaan comes for the fellowship and meeting new people.
According to Rahsaan, “The majority of people you meet at MeetUps are those who have a desire to do something different and meet other people.”
Woodson, also an original, helped start this group because he “wanted to take the online offline”. Dave W had been communicating and sharing ideas with others in the community online but only knew a few face to face. The MeetUps presented a way to meet people face to face and form a more personal and long-lasting connection and friendship.
Those connections and friendships were very evident tonight at Industrial Revolution. Especially if you talked to Ruth, Sarah, Ann, Lauren and Rahsaan, a group that didn’t know each other prior to the original MeetUps.
Several out of this group are self-professed introverts that, after you spend some time with them, you never would guess that. These five have become close friends outside of TweetUps MeetUps. They get together on their own and three of them have since started to work at the same company. None of these close friendships would be in existence if it weren’t for these MeetUps.
It was truly amazing to be a part of this evening's get-together. It showed me that there was life outside of my phone or computer screen and that people still want and need that one-on-one, face-to-face interaction. Friendships, business connections, fellowship time can all happen offline, too.
Thanks to the follow people who came out to the event!
Business: Michigan City Area Schools
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/nancy.moldenhauer?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-Moldenhauer-For-Vision-153961208025510/?fref=ts
Twitter Handle: @nancyforvision
Events: Jamin with Save the Dunes - June 16th
Passions: positively impacting the enviroment and humanity
Business: Geminus Head Start
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/christie.fuller.71?fref=ts
Passions: Good Food
Business: Gosser Corporate Sales Inc.
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/gossercorpsales/?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/rick.gosser?fref=ts&ref=br_tf
Twitter Handle: @gossersales
Passions: Staying Fit/Making people look good
Business: JM2 Webdesigns
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/NTBuddy?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/jm2webdesigners/?fref=ts
Twitter Handle: @JM2Webdesigners
Passions: Web, Social and Programming
Business: NWI Fod Council + Graperine Local Food Marketing
Twitter Handle: @SariHache
Business: Fine Art Photographer
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/laurenalexisphoto/?fref=ts
Twitter Handle: @justsaycheeseit
Passions: Newborns, Families and Children
Business: LB Energy
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/billm.moran?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LB-Energy-LLC/1318740394810156?pnref=lhc
Passions: Helping people grow
Business: Friend of Fold of Honor - NWI Committee
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/bob.carnagey?fref=ts
Events: Currie Motor (Valparaiso Ford Dealer) Car Show + Cook Out May 28th at Dealership in Valpo
Passions: Military Charity
Business: North Judson Fire Dept
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/kevin.brown.545?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/North-Judson-Wayne-Twp-Volunteer-Fire-Department-187879008060565/?fref=ts
Events: April 9th 7:30am AYCE B+G fundraiser for community center
Business: Zoseco Coworking, Open Door Coworking, Provito Company
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/ezosso?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/zoseco/?fref=ts
Twitter Handle: @Zoseco
Events: The Downtown Professionsl March 16th @ 7pm @ Rust Oak
Passions: Coming up with crazy-ass ideas and trying it out
Business: Valpo Nannies
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/ahna.dunn?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/valponannies/?fref=ts
Events: The Downtown Professionsl March 16th @ 7pm @ Rust Oak
Passions: Working with people
Business: Cohn Communications
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/drmcohn?fref=ts
Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/dcohncommunications/?fref=ts
Twitter Handle: @dcohncomm
Business: Ideas in Motion Media
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/JenMCraig
Twitter Handle: @Jenmcraig
Passions: Going 100%, 100% of the time, running, Spartan Races
"For those who attended the NWIMeetUp, if you did not fill out the sheets being distributed at the event, please send us the details via email. The form can be viewed here. You will be able to see our Meet Up Directory, as well as follow what is up from the network of people throughout the region, attend their events, and help all of these folks rise in whatever they are working on!