The Power of Community : Victoria SharePoint Users Group

Sector Learning Solutions partnered with SharePoint MVP Sean Wallbridge of itgroove Professional Services Ltd in April 2011 when we agreed to host the Victoria SharePoint Users Group monthly meetups at our training facility.

Sean created the community user group because he believes Microsoft SharePoint is the fastest growing product to come out of Microsoft in the history of the company for one very big reason – “it’s awesomesauce.”

To assist us with facilitating the sessions, Sean introduced us to :

To quote the company, Meetup is “the world’s largest network of local groups” with the mission to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize.”

On September 10, we received an email message from the Meetup Co-Founder & CEO, Scott Heiferman that we found interesting, as well as heartwarming. As Meetup users, we’d like to share that with you now:

“Fellow Meetuppers,

I don’t write to our whole community often, but this week is special because it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many people don’t know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn’t matter much if we’ve got the internet and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I hoped they wouldn’t bother me.

When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they’d normally ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being neighborly.

A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and grow local communities?

We didn’t know if it would work. Most people thought it was a crazy idea — especially because terrorism is designed to make people distrust one another.

A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months after 9/11.

Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it’s working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups… a wild variety of 100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common — except one thing.

Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me. They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and motivate each other, they babysit each other’s kids and find other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace together. They make friends and form powerful community. It’s powerful stuff.

It’s a wonderful revolution in local community, and it’s thanks to everyone who shows up.

Meetups aren’t about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it weren’t for 9/11.

9/11 didn’t make us too scared to go outside or talk to strangers. 9/11 didn’t rip us apart. No, we’re building new community together!!!!

The towers fell, but we rise up. And we’re just getting started with these Meetups.

-Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
September 2011″

-Kelly Marshall,
Sales and Marketing Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions

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