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?

  1. Awesome! If anyone is interested in putting together a Madison, WI meet-up, send me an email: lauramfarrell[at]gmail.com

  2. Love, love, love it. I just recently moved 2,000 miles away from friends and family. I tried some mommy groups on meet up…and I definitely didn't fit in…and they were kind of judgmental. It'll be nice to find some mamas who may not be just like me – but will kinda be on the same offbeat page as me.

    1 agrees
  3. I think that's a great idea! I'd be up for organizing something in Toronto (canada) if anyone is interested?

    1 agrees
    • I'm there! Would love too! It's so hard to find other mamas here that army judgmental about appearance.

      • AAwesome! Any ideas on where would be a good space??? I haven't been there yet but apparently there's a new coffee shop with a play area in little Italy….or should it be somewhere less public? Thoughts?

  4. I'd coordinate a DC/MD meet up. What's a good type of place to do this though?

    1 agrees
    • Hey Diana — the post is about doing this:

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

      • Sorry, I meant what's a good place to physically meet up? What would be a good type of place for a lot of mamas and kidlings?

        3 agree
        • Zoo? Aquarium? Port Discovery?

        • What about the statue garden at the National Gallery? Close to 2 metros, several bus lines, central for working mamas…

    • I'm not sure what a good place would be. I've never done anything like this before. I'm in Baltimore and would love to be involved!

      1 agrees
    • oh yes a DC/ MD meet up would be great! You'd have 3 from Capitol Hill/ H st. I'd help you get it set up if you could use another set of hands.

  5. I wonder if there are any Arkansans interested?

    • Hey i am in fort smith. you anywhere nearby?

  6. Hi! After an attempt to join several different meet up groups in my area (Chicago!) myself and a fellow mama friend found ourselves feeling unwelcome and mostly just like we were a bunch of weirdos because we had tattoos and preferred to wear band t-shirts over button-ups. Other moms simply didn't seem to like us very much.
    We knew that Chicago had to be filled with other offbeat(or just plain sick of the other groups!) mamas and kids. So, we created a FB page and invited a few others to join us…now the group has grown to have over50 followers and we've had more play dates, meet-ups and moms night outs than I can even count! We use it as a place to share stories, links (mostly from offbeat mama) and even a place to sell/trade kiddo goods and babysitters!

    I hope you don't mind that we cited this wonderful site and you should know that this awesome place was a huge inspiration to want to get out there and make some like-minded mama friends! We love you guys!

    • Hey Becca! How do we find you? There are definitely more than 50 weirdo parents around here… :)

  7. If anyone is interesting in a meet up in the L.A. county area California, I live in San Dimas please email me at humblecpie@gmail.com

  8. I'm wondering if the groups feature wouldn't be a better option for this on Facebook. Either way, this is a fabulous idea!

    • The theory behind the idea is that I'll set up initial meet-ups for whoever emails me, one time, on the Facebook events page. From there, you guys are totally free to make your own groups. I have no problem doing the events, but honestly.. I don't have the time or desire to manage a lot of smaller groups. We really want to find a way for you guys to connect to one another, but don't have the resources to manage it. If anyone has other ideas, I am TOTALLY open to hearing/reading and considering them!

      • Ahh, that makes a lot of sense. I forgot that you'd have to manage the groups as well. I was just trying to think of ways to make it easier on you, and did a terrible job. Haha.

        • Ultimately, if the local meet-ups prove awesome, there could totally be spin-off groups — sorta like the Unconventional Military Spouse group, which was founded by some Offbeat Mama readers.

          1 agrees
  9. No chance that anyone in Sweden (namely the Stockholm area) would be interested, I presume? I may be the lone Swedish reader. *:P

  10. Any Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area Mamas around here? Would love to plan something!

  11. Is there anyone in the San Francisco bay area out there? I'm a new mom and I'd be happy to make a meet up but wanted to wait to see if someone who had more of a sense what they wanted it to look like would do one in the area. I'd really love to meet some like-minded mamas…none of my friends have kids yet!

    • Hi Jennifer! Im in the Berkeley area and am a big time Mama Group Leader type, I host tons of mom meetups

      • I'll be a mom by September…do you do stuff with brand new babies, or just older kids? (I'm in Oakland)

        • Dk- If you have the inclination we should meet up sometime. I have a newborn but would certainly love to have a soon-to-be-mom friend in the area. Pregnancy is not long gone from my consciousness!

  12. Whoo! Hoo! Where my south Jersey girls at?

  13. So…. I don't have kids YET but I am a devoted Offbeat Empire follower…. but I would love to meet some non-Stepford types here in the New York City suburbs. Any other offbeat, child free-for-now people want to hang out with me? Is that allowed?

  14. Anyone in Rhode Island or even the Boston area?

    • There are two of us from the Offbeat Empire (we haven't met yet, just posted in comments) who started a google group. You should be able to search for it; I think it was "Boston Offbeat Empire meet-ups," but I can't check google groups at work. I'll post a link to it here tonight.

      Again, there are only two of us on the list so far–we didn't know how to spread the word. I don't have kids, and don't know about the other person, but it'd be great to have an overall Offbeat Boston meetup group, then we can do splinter cells like Mamas and Brides if they/you prefer only to hang out with other Mamas and Brides. (I'd be psyched to meet up either way…)

  15. Anyone in the Twin Cities, Mn Area?

    • I am in St. Paul, and don't really get out much… I'm one of those people who says "Oh, yeah I'm going to go to xyz social activity!" Then decide I'm too lazy and scared and stay home… ha! It would be nice to at least start a fb group even if there isn't a meet up right away.

      • I am east of St Paul, and every mom's group that isn't in a library (go to them all) is on the west side or dead center Twin Cities. Add that to emotional and practical car issues, and we have a lonely mom whose only other mom examples buy blinking plastic things and don't know why play is REALLY important.

  16. I'm fairly certain I'm the only one in Albuquerque. I would sign up for later in the year during ABQ's big event (the Balloon Fiesta, in October) if anyone were interested.

  17. I'm in Dallas, Texas, not a mom yet but would love to meet up with some off beaters!! I anyone is interested let me know!

  18. The difficult thing about organizing these meet-ups is knowing where to do them. For example, I'm in Athens, GA, but I don't know if there would be enough people to meet here, so I could try and organize one in Atlanta. Hmm.

    On that note, anyone in the state of Georgia up for a meet-up?

    • I live 3-4 hours from Atlanta and asked everyone on Facebook if anyone would want to meet there — like 40 people said yes. I totally think that would be successful. :)

  19. Anyone else live on Long Island (New York)? I'm in Western Suffolk on the South Shore, and I have a one month old baby girl. I would love to get together with other moms in the area… I can be contacted at barbiesbooties at gmail. If anyone has any ideas of a good venue for a meetup (Maybe Atlantis Marine World or something similar?)… I'd be open to setting one up for sometime in late May/early June, once the baby's immunities are up!

  20. Central NC mamas out there? Greensboro-area? I'd be more than happy to drive to Chapel Hill/Raleigh area or Winston-Salem area, too! I have a two and a half year old but would love to meet any and all offbeat mamas!!

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