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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

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Dealing with a traumatic brain injury is difficult enough without dealing with one all by yourself. An obvious question, then, is "What support groups or online communities are there to help me cope?" And the answers are often obvious enough, too: Check with your local hospitals. Ask your doctor or other healthcare professional. Contact your local social-services organization for leads. And, of course, consult Google.

But there's one possibility you may have overlooked. first achieved significant notice during the 2004 US Presidential campaign, particularly when Joe Trippi so brilliantly led Howard Dean's Democratic primary campaign straight to the people via the Worldwide Web. But it -- Meetup -- isn't and never was primarily a political tool; it just lent itself handily to that use. The idea is simple, on the face of it (from the "About Meetup" page at their site): helps people find others who share their interest or cause, and form lasting, influential, local community groups that regularly meet face-to-face. We believe that the world will be a better place when everyone has access to a people-powered local Meetup Group. That's our goal.

Meetup Groups help people:
  • Find others who share their interests
  • Get involved locally
  • Learn, teach, and share things
  • Make friends and have fun
  • Rise up, stand up, unite, and make a difference
  • Be a part of something bigger — both locally and globally
We're proud to give more power to the people and we believe it's possible to make a profit and make a difference.
In general, Meetup provides a software and networking framework which makes it easy for people sharing similar interests to find one another. Of course, there are plenty of online fora, bulletin boards, newsgroups, and similar resources which serve as gathering places for like-minded groups. But importantly, the gathering places for meetups are off-line: in homes, meeting and conference rooms, schools... All that Meetup itself provides is a simple means to organize the gatherings.

After you've browsed around for even a few minutes, it becomes obvious how and why it's become a popular tool for this purpose; it becomes especially obvious how diverse are the interest groups that have come to depend on it.

So maybe it's not too surprising then to find that there are a lot of TBI-related meetups, not just in the United States but around the world.

Now, don't expect to find hundreds of participants in your city. You may find tens, or even less. (Here in our city, currently only a single person is seeking a meetup.) But such things always start small. And sharing with -- and supporting -- one another (to say nothing of not getting lost in a crowd) is a heck of a lot easier with smaller numbers anyway.

If your locale does not yet have a TBI meetup group of its own, consider starting one. Be patient. Someone out there, just a few miles away, is likewise hoping to meet you.

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