I trekked to the very cool offices of Meetup in lower Manhattan to speak with co-founder and visionary CEO Scott Heiferman.  Scott and his team have built an extraordinary business using the tools of social networking to organize people into special interests groups which meet in person to pursue their passions. There are some two million members of Meetup who meet in all sorts of places around the world.

There are nearly 12,000 “ghost hunters” who meet regularly, 3,000 breast-feeding moms, and countless other groups that meet up around the globe!

Scott has won lots of awards including Technology Review’s Innovator of the Year and Wired’s Rave Award.

He’s seen many of social networking’s ups and downs, and has some cautionary words of advice for advertisers and marketers looking to capitalize on the target audiences at Meetup: they must provide some kind of value to the community or they will not be welcome. Scott reminds us of similar sentiments from Internet high priestess Esther Dyson, who spoke with Beet.TV earlier this month.

Newsweek’s Steven Levy has a terrific interview with Scott about Meetup’s philosophy in the May 29, 2006 issue.

– – Andy Plesser

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