Meetup, ‘Why Don’t You…’ and 10,000 year thinking in a pub

I love Meetup and there’s a great piece in the FT Weekend Magazine that explains quite what it is that makes it work. It really started to come together for me a few weeks ago when we had a fantastic Long Now London Meetup. Up until then it had just been people I knew, but last month we grew beyond that. It was great to be able to organise something so easily that brought together people around a shared interest.

So what’s it got to do with Why Don’t You? Well, the full title of Why Don’t You was “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?” which was pretty revolutionary for a TV program when you think about it. Somebody once described the email magazine Pick Me Up that I used to help out with as Why Don’t You for grown-ups. With our manhunts in Covent Garden, taking cows to Toxteth and journeys to find the source of the Thames, it was all about getting people away from their email.

I like that idea — that we should build technology projects that help people get away from technology and I’d say Meetup are one of the most inspirational companies that already do so. I hope we’re doing it with School of Everything and Social Innovation Camp too.

Oh, and our next Long Now London Meetup is on September 17th. Come along!

Camping News

Some fantastic news on Social Innovation Camp. Nesta and The Young Foundation have very generously agreed to support us to run two more camps and a series of monthly meetups that will get underway in the Autumn. The main date for your diary is 5–7 December in Bethnal Green when we’ll be repeating the creative chaos of earlier this year.

Also — we’re hiring, so please spread the word to people who might be interested.

And following up from the last camp we’re moving ahead with the project formerly known as Barcode Wikipedia with some support from the National Consumer Council and MySociety. We have a small piece of desk research (probably 10–15 days of work) that we’re looking for some help with. Drop me a line (paul [at] paulmiller [dot] org) if you’re interested.