I ask again…anyone want to turn this into a meetup.com group so we can do this outside of a regional venue? If not, I will create said group, or create a https://meetup.com/pinellas-hack-shack recurring event as a kick-off point.
Trying to make sure I understand … is the need here more about advertising the event to interested parties, announcing to known audiences, or maybe something else I didn’t think of just now?
As for locations, there’s really nothing holding us back from having several in-person events at any given time … as long as there are people to show up, of course!
Advertising the event to interested parties is important. I have long experience with meetup groups, and the experience and results have always been very good. Mind you, Pinellas Hack Shack has over 400 members that notices go out to, and only about 180 of those have every been in to sign waivers to use the shop equipment (and a good number that seem to have evaded that step) and some 200 that either only showed up to do a meet and greet, or never showed up at all. On top of that, even on the best regular workshop times, we generally have less than 10 people show up to work on projects. Those are twice a week though, which means we actually have about 60 monthly “regulars”.
This group got started off of my “Hacking for Charity” meetup group, which generated a ton of interest for the three years it ran. It is a very good way to get the word out for local groups. If you have a national group, and you have organizers already in place all over the country, I am pretty sure that would be a force multiplier.
I didn’t think the meetup thing was really going work at first, but aside from Linkedin, it is the only social media platform I actually engage with. It is useful.