If you despair about online social networks, then have a look at this one.  It is called Meetup [www.meetup.com] and it’s a social networking site with an important difference: it connects people who want to make friends the old fashioned way, in person and offline.

The strapline for Meetup is “neighbours getting together to learn something, do something, share something…”

It works on the old tried and true formula for meeting people and establishing friendships – a combination of common interests and common location.  When you go to the website, you enter your location – a town, city, region or postcode – and you choose a distance from that location (it orginated in the US so the distances are in miles).

The website will show you all the different social groups available for you to join in that area or you can search by category – things like ‘crafts and hobbies’, ‘games’, ‘food and drink’, ‘arts and culture’, ‘religion and beliefs’, ‘movements and politics’, ‘pets and animals’, ‘community and environment’, career and business’ and  ‘dancing’, to name but a few.

For more, go to Frank & Earnest - the conversations of life.

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