MeetUp (http://www.meetup.com/) is a real social networking site. By that I mean you use MeetUp to get in contact with people near you with shared interests and you actually meet up with them.
Not that I was getting lonely in Dublin or anything– but I joined a MeetUp called – New and Not So New in Dublin (http://newintown.meetup.com/662/). I found it by doing a search in Google for Dublin Meetup. I have to say that MeetUp is one of the most user-friendly web sites I have seen. The first page I got to I could search for a group in Dublin by name/topic or take a look at all of the MeetUps scheduled for that week.
The range of MeetUp groups in Dublin is diverse. There are a couple of business-networking groups, a couple of tech user groups and a few that were more social. I decided that my choices were this or Goth Dublin – but I left my black fingernail polish in St Paul so New and Not So New won out.
Patrick (my husband and I) met up with the group and everyone was very friendly. Now I get email messages whenever a new event is scheduled. You can RSVP (yes, no, maybe) so others in the group know who’s coming. In fact someone had obviously checked the RSVPs before we met up as they recognized me from my picture – which was nice.
After the event you can send a note, grade, the event, and tell how many people joined. This is helpful when you are looking for new groups. Maybe you want to find a group where there are just a handful of new people, maybe you want a mob.
The MeetUp group has a web site and a mailing list. Any member can post to the mailing list. Only the organizer or assistant organizers can schedule events – but it is easy to suggest an event. It looks as if anyone can start a MeetUp group.