The Offbeat Mama 2011 reader survey: let's talk about having Offbeat Meet-ups

February 16 |
Let's get the kidlets together, guys! Photo by Ed Yourdon, used under Creative Commons license.

Yesterday I broke down the basic demographic information from the 2011 reader survey, and today we're getting into the nitty-gritty: talking about what you love about the site, changes you think might be cool, and bouncing around ideas about how we can make offbeat parent meet-ups happen.

How you think we can improve Offbeat Mama

This is the part of the survey that can cause the most strife (for us), but you guys were awesome this year. A lot of you want more content, which is awesome since I've been trying to schedule 2-3 posts each day. If appropriate content keeps coming in, it'll keep being published!

Here's some feedback that made me "awww":

Now that I've discovered OBH and OBM, you are changing the way I live and plan my future. I especially appreciate your posts on sustainability, budgeting, adoption, and interracial/transracial families. I also love the other blogs you link to. Thank you!!

I love the respect between writers & commenters on your site. I very much appreciate reading that I'm not the only one not buying into all the "must buy baby crap" crap. No one I know in real life thinks that's possible (besides my husband). In that vein, I love your practicality.

My favorite thing is that you will post all and usually any perspectives on life. It is the most varied content on 3 sites and I can ALWAYS find something across the empire that is actually interesting to me. Although most of it is not relevant to my situation (I'm in a small niche).

The two biggest things we saw consistently were that you'd like more meatier articles, and fewer "fluffy" photo-focused posts, and that you REALLY want a way to be able to contact other Offbeat Mama readers and parents in your area. We've bounced SO many ideas around related to this: a forum (not happening), a directory (hard to maintain), or something similar to Meetup.com (would require many hours of extra comment moderation that we don't have the resources for AND wouldn't be free). Ultimately, I came up with a solution that might work — but you're going to have to be on Facebook to use it.

How to have an Offbeat Mama meet-up in your area

  1. Send an email with the subject "Offbeat Mama Meet-up" to stephanie@offbeatempire.com
  2. Include: your name, contact info, the time/place/date of the meet-up
  3. I'll add your event to the events page on Facebook.

The catch is this: you can only add your event ONE TIME. This isn't going to be a place to post regular meet-ups, but it IS a place to connect with other offbeat parents in your area. Once you guys have established your groups or made connections (added people on Facebook, exchanged phone numbers, etc.) it's up to you to maintain and continue meeting. It's necessary for you to go ahead and pick a time/place/date even if you end up changing it because events require those details. I'll need your contact info so people can contact you about it — NOT me. Also, check the Facebook page BEFORE sending an event — if someone else is already hosting one that's similar, I'm not going to list both. Basically: I love you guys, but I'm not going to be able to maintain your events for you. We'll provide the initial space to organize, but everything beyond that is up to you.

So hey: let's chat. Whatcha think?