I like to take part to local meetup events. They are informative, fun, and socially engaging at the same time. Sometimes, the meetup organizers get asked to stream events online. It would be a cool feature, I guess, but if you ask me, it would do more harm than good the community. Let me explain why.

Image courtesy of meetup.com

Listening to the meetup topic in person, together with other people who share your interests, focused on the speaker and her/his slides, it’s a type of experience. Watching to such an event at home, in front of a screen, alone, with distractions calling for your attention, far from where the event is happening, is a much weaker type of experience.

You could easily find some blog posts or online tutorial about the same topic of the meetup event, most likely of a better quality. The real value of in-person meetup lies in socialising, networking, in the exchange of ideas that happens before and after the talk, and if you want, at the pizza place afterwards.

Furthermore, the fact that an event would also be streamed online, weakens the event in person. One might think “Hey, who is making me go to the city, I can see it in live streaming. Then when it’s time “Hey, who is making me watch it live, I’ll see the recording later”. Then “Ah, why would I watch the recording, I’ll watch an online tutorial”. Maybe.

If we talk about conferences, however, there are some differences. Conferences can be online, but I think they have to be online or offline, not both. Online conferences may have a larger audience, even worldwide, and may reduce costs for attendees, they are more accessible to those with mobility impairments, but in my opinion in-person conferences are the best, for the same reasons: being together with people sharing your interests, exchanging ideas, etc.

And you? What do you think about streming meetups? Let me know in the comments!