The Howard Dean campaign's savvy use of its technology has gotten attention for Meetup.com. Now reporters are starting to notice its broader strategy: helping people find all sorts like-minded folks for in-person conversation. Although I don't envy anyone the dating game, I've always thought it was unfortunate that only single people have lots of organized ways to meet people in the big city.
Sporadic blogger Esther Dyson, a Meetup.com board member, discusses its strategic challenge: "I'm working on how we navigate our strategy as the political side of our business gets great exposure, mostly because of Howard Dean (no relationship to Eric Dean!). It's wonderful, but we don't want to become all politics, all the time. Should we form a separate unit? What's the difference between a political rally and a Meetup? And so on..."
Update: Meetup does have a problem, which that it works only for people with easily articulated interests, whether they're Dean supporters, vegans, or Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't see myself meeting up with any of these groups, unless maybe I get serious about learning Italian--or they convince me the Buffy fans won't all be 15.