Okay, pesky late-night beer-beggers non-withstanding…
What is a GWC Meetup. First off, I’ve been to them all. This was my 4th year attending, and I sincerely hope I’ll last for 40 more. Twitter has really made this community’s daily communication more instant and dynamic, although a bit more simplistic (that damned 140 character limit). But when somebody in GWC wants to make a real point at length, you’ll see it here, I hope. Like right now.
The entire concept of traveling and spending money (a craaapton of money these days) to see a podcast of three people you’d listened to, who’d led you to a bunch of people you’d talked to (typed to?) on the web, but had never really met was just so crazy…of course we had to do it! And once the first Meetup happened, (and I was completely freaked to be flying, btw. I HATED flying until I realized it could get me to the people I loved) there was no doubt that it would be a yearly priority from then on. From the moment those first folks gathered in the lobby of the Homeward Suites hotel, the world changed for many of us. (You know who you are) Most of them were named David…
It’s very difficult to express the longing and desire to finally actually see the friends you’ve been keeping in touch with from year to year. You walk into (for the past few years) the Aloft lobby, and there are your friends, and the hugs start, and you pick up conversations like not a moment has passed since the last year… well, that’s pretty special. GWCers are geographically so spread out now, getting us all in one place is a major event! We are in fact. international. Multi-hemispherical, even! And yet when we are together, we’re all at ease. The outside world disappears for just awhile and the complete enjoyment of just being together takes over. I walk in and see Rachel, Nike, Steve, Chris, and it’s like walking out of a pressure cooker and into sunshine.
I’ve heard GWC compared to a cult No. No way. We all have our own opinions, ideas, experiences. The thing that is so special about us is that when we are together, nobody is afraid to share their thoughts, opinions, experiences, themselves! The experience of being able to express an opinion and have that opinion thoughtfully discussed, and not dismissed out of hand, is incredible. And that’s what we do.
This year, the 2012 Meetup, was (to this OG) head-shakingly awesome because there were so many new faces this year! I don’t have the actual figures, but I’ll bet at least half of the GWCers attending this year were first-timers. Incredible! I made a lot of new friends this year, and I’ll bet most of them come back next year. We almost filled an entire hotel this year. Everywhere we went, movie, breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, you name it, we filled tables, rooms, and probably made waitresses cry, until they realized how nice we were.
I think that a very telling aspect of these Meetups is that GWCers have been, and are now in the process of, setting up their own regional Meetups. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but with every new GWCer discovered it just makes every regional Meetup more fun and more likely to happen, and that’s a good thing. Once you find what makes you happy, you seek it out, and stick with it.
A big thank you to Sean, Audra, and Chuck for another year of Meetup Ossim. Four years of organizing, planning, bartering, begging, borrowing and stealing to make these Meetups happen. We are all in your debt, Crue. Thank you for creating this place where we can be ourselves, meet, share, and hold IRL an arm’s length away for a few hours a day, and a few days a year.
It’s Been An Honor