Tips & Tricks: Using

In March, Red Hat launched which was among the fastest growing new topics and top topics list for weeks, growing to 328 of the 612 possible Meetup cities with over 1800 members and counting. All of which begs the question, what is a meetup? How do I use the site? In this month's Tips & Tricks, we'll answer just that. Well, more than just that actually.

Let's begin at the beginning. So a meetup is when you "meet up" with some like-minded folks, as they say "Meetup is a free service that organizes local gatherings about anything, anywhere." Finally. Web connectivity has gotten broad enough to be able to use it to find people physically near you.

If you're reading this, we know you're interested in Red Hat, and you might be social despite the stereotypes. Go to and enter your zip code. If a venue isn't near enough to you, you can get it added once you have four others in the area. Meetup+ members can nominate additional venues (places you might choose to meet) as well.

Join the meetup near you, it's free and it obliges you to no one meetup. Once you log in, you'll be asked to vote on a venue (or prompted that voting will soon begin). Meanwhile, you can browse and post in the message boards and meet others in your meetup before you meet up for real. You can browse the meetup+ member's notebooks, related links, photos of prior meetups.

Who's running this thing? You are. The venues and agenda are voted on. And even then, you may decide via the message boards to meet elsewhere, or on additional dates. The Red Hat meetups currently happen the first Thursday of each month. Coordination by volunteer hosts help ensure that the venue is prepared, make reservations, tell the host when they've arrived, and will sometimes print out signs from

What happens next? Well you vote on a venue, you RSVP and you go. Hopefully a few others show up, and you have coffee or a beer. You talk about Linux and open source and getting ALSA support. Or you talk about ham radio and the finer virtues of fresh cilantro. This is another part that's up to you.

So what *will* we do? We'll offer our offices as a venue in meetup cities with a nearby Red Hat office. We'll ship swag to meetups that grow fast, have large attendance, strange venues. We may even pop in randomly when we're in town. And we'll continue to work with to help improve the experience, choice of cities and venues, and feature requests.

Other questions? Three things to try: One, go there and poke around. Two, read the FAQ at Three, take the tutorial at