Meetup.com, founded in 2002, wasn’t created just for canines. But curiously, pugs played a role. According to techno-lore, the platform’s founders concocted a made-up event, International Pug Lovers Meetup Day, to test market the site. Pug lovers (and folks who merely found the idea hilarious) rallied to the cause, garnering press and visibility. Meetup.com gained a foothold in popular culture as the tool that propelled political candidate Howard Dean into the national arena in 2004, but pugs were never forgotten. Today some 40,425 people are subscribed to 174 Pug Meetup Groups in 148 cities in five countries around the world. (The San Diego Pug Club, with more than 1,000 members, is the largest.)
So what exactly is a Meetup? Think of it as a face-to-face activity that’s organized online. Each Meetup group has a founder or organizer who puts activities on the calendar. Members RSVP, show up, participate and, if they like, post comments to the group afterward.
Some groups require members to join and be vetted before participating in a scheduled activity, while others post their Meetup information online and take a “just show up” approach. To explore the canine-related possibilities in your area, go to Meetup.com and type “dog” and zipcode in the “Find a Meetup Group” search fields. You’ll be amazed by what comes up!