Meetups (and, more recently, "tweetups," which are meetups organized via Twitter) are the online manifestation of our social networking efforts. With Twitter and
Upcoming.org and Facebook and all the other social networks, putting together a bunch of like-minded people is relatively simple. You find a venue that doesn't mind a bunch of nerds, preferably with a place you can be loud (because social media types are often the loudest bunch in there, unless there's a bachelorette party), and, hopefully, some delightful libations to ease social interaction. But what do you do there, once you've walked in and identified that you're in the right place? Here's a recipe.
Oftentimes, someone at the meetup is known to you. Make sure you say hi to that person earlier in the night rather than later. I'm working on this one, because sometimes, I'll be somewhere with friends and never get over to see them because time gets eaten up so fast. I'm going to make a point of saying hi to my longer-known friends first at meetups, so that they'll feel acknowledged.
Look for folks who might be new to your local scene, or those you haven't met before, and introduce yourself. My favorite opening line is to ask them what they normally do when they're not hanging out with a bunch of Twitter geeks. If that doesn't work, I like to ask people about their passions.
There's a tendency ...