Meetup Becomes A Messaging App

There are so many non sequiturs it’s hard to know where to begin.

“After first joining a Meetup group, you may not immediately feel comfortable exchanging your contact information with fellow members.”

Maybe so, but you didn’t have to. Meetup always included the capability to block the other party in an email exchange from seeing your email address. And exchanging your phone number was totally up to you.

“Other times, you may need to reach a group member with a quick question, but hadn’t bothered to get their contact information just yet.”

With the old system, you could easily send the other members an email with your email screened, even if you hadn’t bothered to get their contact information just yet.

“In the past, Meetup members … had no choice but to leave comments on group message boards with [their] cell phone number[s] in order to share [their] contact information with the group when you weren’t face-to-face with them.”

Really? Members had no choice but to share their cell phone numbers with everyone? Well, if you feel compelled to publish your email on message boards, a new message app won’t help with that.

Maybe the Meetup mobile app felt underdeveloped to some; I don’t know, but degrading existing communications to implement a Meetup-unique proprietary messaging system is unlikely to enable “those who share a common interest to connect with each other in the offline world.”

This seems to be just another of a growing herd of proprietary messaging apps. In the wake of the backlash over Facebook Messenger’s permissions, which give Facebook the capability to directly call phone numbers, take pictures and videos, record audio, etc., I’m surprised Meetup has chosen to follow the herd. A more elegant solution might be to retain the existing email functionality, since it is still being used for organizers to make announcements to all group members, and use the messaging app as a supplement for those who need it, rather than forcing it on everyone.

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