October 21, 2013, 1:53 pm
I think the internet is partly responsible for the death of meetups, but also it promotes them.
The issue these days is "boy racers", the respectable amongst us (anyone who doesn't drive a corsa :P) who want to meet up to show others our mod's, have a laugh with a few members and put some faces to the virtual names, its a great experience, however, those who like the children in the corsa crew, who like to meet up, street race, and wind up just about any and every resident in a 100 mile radius are more the reason for the death of the meets.
For example, I have met a lot of people on here, and as a virtual club, its a great place to be, and whilst I would struggle often to make any meets, I can still come on, have a laugh and help others out, as such I feel like I have always been part of a great online club, and one day hope to make it to a meet, but local residents in my area, and a crackdown with the police (after events such as this: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway_messenger/news/Man-charged-after-car-crashes-1875/) mean that meets are more difficult. The police in some area's deem all public meets of this nature to be judged on the tarnished reputation bestowed upon us by the boy racers, and those who let their Torque outrun their common sense. As such meeting in public is a much more difficult task, without being dispersed.
Nowadays, arranging meets can be much more difficult. What was once a time of "see you in this car park" is now a case of researching for dispersal orders and other restrictions instated by the local officials, and a quick meet can soon turn out to be a very long negotiation of web searching and local news searching to ensure that your not about to set yourself up for a date with a police cell.
All in, I think its a mixed kettle. More people like to get the virtual environment, as you can attend whenever you like, drop off whenever you like, and it takes walking to an internet connected device to be part of it. For those with busy lives (like myself) its a nice break away to meet like minded folks, have a laugh, give a hand and be part of a community that can take pride of place at the top of google search. However, does this make some people a little more reluctant to join a meet? I think the jury may be out on that, I dont think it does entirely (or at least not intentionally).
Overall, the internet doesn't change owners clubs, idiots do! Idiots that mean meets are less popular because people are less likely to go to a place where they will attract unwanted police attention, or don't want to get caught up in someone else's stupidity.