Each person, starting up and managing such a local talking group (community Meetup) is called an organiser. He is obliged to organize 1 Meetup (meeting) a month.
The access to the site is free, some extra services are charged. The individual Organizers are free to charge membership fees to cover the Group fees for the monthly Meetups. Great efforts have been made to make the lay-out as easily accessible and clearly structured as possible, through headings. The Organizer's task too is described from A to Z. Of course, the theory can be put into practise only when you are part of the Organization. Consequently, forming a realistic idea of the 'return' you get is not that obvious. Only members can do that.
The approach is rather neutral, transparent and freely accessible to the general public. Meetup.com's principle is democratic, tolerant and anti-discriminating, which creates a very interesting local and international interaction between the several groups with different points of view. The monthly Meetups enable very direct, face to face contacts. In this way you can reach a worldwide and various public.
The degree of engagement depends mainly upon yourself. Almost every individual can create a specific Meetup Group. Unwanted, racial messages are banned and personal e-mail-addresses are not released
The site does not clearly explain to what extent and how the Organizers and the Members are screened.
At first sight the task of the local Organizer seems to be rather simple. However, on reflection, it seems to be far more comprehensive! It's not evident to organize every month a new Meetup and to keep the members satisfied and concerned. MeetUp.com aims at individuals who mainly want to talk, to exchange experiences and to socialize, without a very strict structure, goals or engagement whatsoever. What exactly you can expect or what is expected from you in that respect is rather loosely.
Though IF and MeetUp.com have a few interfaces, they both have their specific goals and approach.
In certain fields they may even be complementary. A certain degree of ‘competition’ is enriching, attracts more interested people and opens new perspectives.
In contradiction to IF, that focuses on 2 principal groups (Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus), MeetUp.com is not restrictive. Talking and meeting in person are essential.
However, the most principal thing is that both organizations dedicate themselves to the full for the same goal.