ONE OF IRELAND'S most dynamic social networking events happens on the first Thursday every month in Limerick's Absolute Hotel. In many ways, the free two-hour meet-up works as smoothly as mature online social networking.
I attend 80% of Limerick Open Coffee (LOCC) meet-ups because at least one conversation during every LOCC session leads to one of our creative multimedia students getting a job offer--not necessarily from the conversant but from a direct line of introduction for the student or graduate. LOCC has become the most efficient word of mouth messaging for me in Ireland.
Talking with David Quaid, a search specialist, I realised the unique meeting dynamic of LOCC does not work for people who only play the numbers game with their business cards, their Twitter follower count or their web page impressions. The LOCC dynamic involves conversation with an meaningful engagement with three or four people at a time. It's rare to use a meeting room with a string of presentations at LOCC because most of the regulars--the men and women who have been at LOCC meetups since 2007--simply won't sit down and listen. They get more out of standing and conversing. And so that's the way the dynamic works.
I recorded four conversations during the September LOCC. If you're subscribed to my blog, the 28-minute MP3 file should download automatically. It's also on Audioboo and will play directly from the blog post and from the newsfeed.
I'm taking away another new routine from monthly LOCC sessions: a to-do list. There's gold dust in every stream of conversation. Top of the list is a formal request to connect our fourth year creative multimedia students into the flow of discussion arising from entrepreneurs and community activists attending Limerick OpenCoffee.
Bernie Goldbach has started curating items related to Open Coffee. Twitter hashtags of #LOCC are more urban rap conversations than Limerick Open Coffee.