General Meetup Discussions

Got questions about meetings? Feel free to ask them here!

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In the Meetups-FAQ (or better at a more prominent place) I miss the information that the first post has to be in English. Maybe I just didn’t see it?

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You’re right — I’ve added in a note that all meeting creators see when they’re creating a meeting… but the FAQ is a more natural place to write these things. I will add it there, to make it more easy to find!

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What is the likelihood of holding an annual meetup card design contest to commemorate the next (and probably all future) World Postcard Day?

We have better infrastructure (native forum gallery and better voting system) now. We can set a deadline for submission at end of August, draft a jury to pre-select in first half of August, let everyone vote in the second half of August and finally announce the winner on Oct. 1.

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Request a “lessons learned” topic in the meet up thread. It would be useful to have a place for those who have hosted meetups to have a place to share ideas and help others learn from their mistakes.

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Feel free to share your learnings here on this topic. As it is not very active, it’s a way to get it moving. Later we can split it into its own topic if needed.

I was wanting to plan a virtual meet up, would love some suggestions from those who have had virtual meet ups.

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Like @BA_Yeats I would be interested in tips for virtual meetups :slight_smile:

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Virtual meet up lessons learned:

These thoughts are based on attending three virtual meet ups, and hosting one, as well as discussions with others who have hosted them. They are listed in no particular order. Hopefully others will chime in here too with their thoughts and experiences.

As host:

Choose a platform that is easily accessible for all and is platform agnostic. Zoom works well and has been used successfully. Be familiar with whatever platform you choose, and provide prospective attendees with links to tutorials they can use to become familiar. People will attend in a variety of ways, from PCs, tablets, smartphones. Do your best to prepare them for success. The goal of the meeting is to meet, not to have everyone watching you try to walk someone through technical difficulties.

Request attendees us a sign on format that shows both their Postcrosser handle and their real name, as well as location: ETA55 (Eric Arnold, MD USA). This is helpful because most of us regularly communicate via Postcrossing and the Postcrossing forums so the handle will be most familiar name to us. The meetup is about making connections, and this will facilitate that.

Request all use video, but do not require it; some people are just not comfortable with that.

Prepare and present an agenda prior to the meet up. This helps attendees manage expectations, as well as helping to move things along during the actual gathering. Be flexible as well, and as discussion develops let the conversations flow.

In general it is good to follow a routine somewhat like this: First, go “around the room” i.e. let everyone introduce themselves with a quick “elevator speech.” Keep in mind that if each person takes 3 minutes, and you have 20, that is your first hour right there! Offer the opportunity for attendees to show off some cards. One way that works well is to ask them to show the favorite card the received in the last week, and have them explain why. This allows all to get to know that person a little better, and will also spur discussion. This can be combined with the introduction.

Make the event thematic in some way; either the whole event has a theme, or each person has to present (speak) on a theme for their allotted time slot. Better to have a topic that people can speak to and have thought about, then to have all of us wandering all over the place. This will also help the introverts comfortably prepare. There is a big difference in sitting at your desk and writing a card to a stranger, and meeting and interacting face-toface, even if virtually. Note that no one should be required to participate if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. Some hosts provide a short presentation, or allow time for a game (treasure hunt, bingo etc.).

Expectations management - for most every social event I am aware of over the course of my life, RSVPS have not equalled the number of attendees. A successful gathering is one in which those who do attend meet with purpose, and leave feeling that their life was better for having had the experience. Not all who sign up will attend, and some of those who do sign up will have other issues come up in their lives, or have technical difficulties. That’s life. Soldier on!

Cards:

Currently, Anna and Paolo do not allow the use of the registered Postcrossing logo on cards that are produced for virtual meetups. If you choose to design and create a card for the meet up, keep that in mind.

In my experience with both face-to-face and with virtual meetups, the host bears the cost of designing and distributing cards. Some hosts are comfortable with accepting donations from attendees some are not. Your call, but think about this ahead of time, so you know how you will respond.

For those who’ve not yet created any cards, if you use an online service, design the card yourself and have them print it, 500 cards is about $50 or less (at least in the U. S. A.). A packet of 10 cards costs a little less $1 to send (again in the U. S.), so if you have 30 attendees…well, you can do the math. Also be careful in your card design not to use images or text that has a copyright, or to provide appropriate attribution if you do. You may need permission as well. I am not a lawyer, but as long as you provide proper attribution and you do not sell cards, I think you will be OK. Note that this is an opinion, not legal advice!

Card distribution and signatures are a bit more of a thorny issue for virtual events. I have seen one event in which attendees were encouraged to provide their “signature” (or icon or graphic to represent them) ahead of time, and the host then compressed, organized and incorporated these in the design for the back of the card. It turned out beautifully, but that requires at lot more skill and organization as well as longer lead time on your part as host. Another idea is to “route the cards for signatures” after the event. In this scenario, you treat a package of cards sort of like a traveling envelope. The host sends blank cards out, and they go from person to person to person (all attendees) to get signed, then come back to the host for final distribution. Personally, I feel this is too frangible to really work, but you could play around with variations on a theme here. For my virtual events thus far, I have just sent a packet of unsigned cards to each participant.

Attendee numbers:

More will RSVP than actually attend. That being said, as host, you should prepare as if all will attend.

Thus far I have seen virtual events open to all. There is a point where the number of attendees could get high enough that it becomes unwieldy. I think that number is likely somewhere around 30, but we are in uncharted territory here. Zoom has the ability to create break out rooms, which is one way to deal with this.

Timing:

Pick a time of day that is most inclusive. For me, hosting a virtual meet up is about getting to meet postcrossers I might never otherwise connect with. Virtual meet ups offer the opportunity to get outside your local region! That means taking time zones into consideration if it is open to all. My most recent virtual event occurred at 1500 on a Saturday. As I am at +5 GMT, this was pretty much between lunch and dinner for all of North America, and mid-evening for Europe.

Chat:

Zoom allows for a text chat to occur simultaneously to the videoconference, here’s a few thoughts on that:
1- Older folks, and those who are less technically savvy will find this confusing. they are more used to conversation in which one person speaks at a time.
2 - Chats can occur one-on-one as well as group wide.
3 - Some people will respond to what is being spoken about on the videoconference in the chat. As a result, you may miss out on some of the conversation if you don’t follow the chat as well.
4. The host can save the chat (at least the public facing portion that was between everyone), and this test file can later be shared. Your participants should be made aware of this ahead of time. If you are going to record the event (either the chat or the videoconference portion form both) your participants should know that. Saving that chat is useful as it provides a means for the exchange of addresses, links, vendors etc.

Time:

Anticipate a 2-3 hour event. Experience has shown that you will start to lose folks around the two hour point. Others will stay on as long as you leave it open. People have been in lock-down and are desperate for contact.

Manage your own expectations. A well organized and run event is not that hard to pull off and can be quire rewarding. You can, however encounter all kinds of glitches, just be prepared, think lot about it before hand and have some contingency ideas in place. No plan survives first contact! Roll with the challenges and maintain a good attitude, and in the end you will be getting thank you cards from new found friends who were recently strangers!

Above all, don’t forget the core values of what Postcrossing is all about! This is about making connections, learning about other views and cultures, and not only sharing who you are, but becoming a bigger person by learning more from and about others. If your event empowers that for everyone, you will have done all of us a great service!

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Hello, Ana.

I think “the blue ban rule” is too strictly applied,
even though we use “bright” sky blue color which would be allowed by a guideline.

Like our meetup and other…




I think this level of blue background doesn’t interfere with the logo.
How do you think about that?

PS : Does she have the authority to delete or censor my writing or freedom of speech?

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I just created a new topic for an Australian meet up. When registering it as an event, I was prompted to tick if I wanted RSVPs, and then to indicate if I was going. I’ve done that, but I can’t see how or where anyone else does, or how it displays. Any advice?

Helen -

This is for the meet up in Melbourne on 19DEC, correct? If you go to the thread for that meet up, in the subject line there is a one word link: “going.” If you click on that, it advances the count of the attendees and a pop-up window shows up. That is as much as I was able to figure out, and I found that by doing, so I now appear as an attendee, using up one of your allotted slots. Sorry about that. While I would love to be there, that 10,000 + commute (and the Pacific) are a bit of an impediment for me (never mind the travel restrictions). Was not able to figure out how to un-RSVP myself, maybe a moderator will respond here. If you have a tablet or laptop and the venue has WiFi, you could prop me up on a table and I could attend via Zoom…

Why did I publish the activities of the city of Chongzuo, and the approval was indeed Taiping City? Click into the Taiping link is indeed my release of the Chongzuo activities.

Hello. How to announce a new meetup in February to make such an announcement visible on this website? Thanks!

Hi, welcome to the forum community :slight_smile:

All meetups here are being published by the organizing persons themselves .

As there is no separate listing for Kazakhstan, you could publish your meetup in the other places. I don’t know if the Russian category is for Russia only or also for other Russian speaking countries. :thinking:

Hey there!
I have a question for those having attended/hosted an online meetup!
Did you have a time slot in your agenda for writing postcards? Does writing postcards together work well over online?

@ mail from jo -

I have attended three and hosted two other virtual meetups, and I have not seen anyone try a postcard writing session during one of them. I have also attended face-to-face meetups pre-pandemic. I feel like writing cards is a sort of solo activity between the writer and the recipient; not sure why I’d want to be online with others while doing that. At face-to-face meetups I have seen a few people address meetup cards while signing the cards as they get passed around, so that the recipient gets a card with all of the signatures.

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Please add our meetup to the Meetups calendar :pray: 1 March 2021 - Russia Cat's Day Meetup in Kaliningrad