It’s official. I cannot stand the way the society we live in is marching down a “Big Brother”-oriented road.

It is easy enough to blame the rules of corporate America, who have decided it’s no longer enough for someone to give you a suitable reference or vouch for your character and talents to acquire a job, an apartment, a loan, a car, or anything else you might want in order to live like a grown adult. That’s quite a change since 1950, when a willingness to go to work every day, not live in your parents’ basement, and to engage in personal hygiene was all it took to find a place of employment, or a new place to live.

Now, you need to not only be a person, but have a stellar “I’m A Person!” Resume. Credit check, background check, medical history, assurances that you’re not only going to be a good tenant or employee, but that you’re never going to embarrass anyone or cost anyone a dime with problems like getting sick, (which are just annoying to everyone; if something is wrong with you, keep quiet and deal with it on your own time. Why should I care about your problems?) or having made poor life choices (for which you deserve to be homeless and branded, obviously. If you want to exist in society, learn to conform and make sure you have the same moral compass as everyone else.)

We live in a “right to know” state, where everyone feels entitled to know everything about everyone at all times. Remember that time you were arrested for joyriding in your neighbour’s car when you were 18? No? You forgot, because you’re now 48 and a responsible adult?

Well, *I* deserved to know. I can’t look at you the same way ever again, knowing you’re that kind of person. And I feel so betrayed that you didn’t tell me. I should have been smart enough to internet search every aspect of your life so you wouldn’t hurt me by never telling me how much you suck as a human being.

Facetiousness, of course, but it is the mentality behind the world we’ve created for ourselves. The “information age” has turned every person out there into the morality police. How dare you put that photo up of you drinking at a bar? It embarrasses the company that what you do on your personal time is so offensive. And what would your mother think? If you’re going to do things like that, make sure nobody knows, because everyone will judge you…and that could destroy your life. That’s the worst thing that could happen to you, showing the world that you’re a real person. We don’t want real people. We want cooperative drones who think, look, and behave properly, and don’t need a sense of privacy. After all, if you want privacy, you must be doing something wrong.

The key to success in life is passing the “judgment of others test”, over and over again. And, if you don’t, you’re not the kind of person we need around.

The government and big business may have started us down the road of “you’re not a person, you’re an image”, but we’ve certainly perpetuated it. People post every movement of every day on social media, and if you’re not on social media, because you’d like to protect your privacy and your reputation, that, too is a red flag. People run background checks on everyone. It’s not as if the world has gotten so dangerous that people need to do this; in fact, the same safety measures that kept you from getting murdered in the past still apply. However, now, if you want a date with someone, it’s not enough to bring her flowers and meet her at a nice restaurant. You should also assume you will be Googled, and somewhere before the 3rd date, you’ll have to pass the requisite background and credit check. After all, how do I know you if I don’t know everything about you?

You can, of course, use social media and the power of information to destroy your enemies. You can find anything and everything with a paper trail to dig up and put out there for the entire world to see, and you’re not slandering anyone or trying to destroy anyone’s life. You’re just engaging in the freedom of information we all deserve.

Because we are all meant to be so perfect that it is up to us to expose those who aren’t, and judge them as they deserve. We are the morality police.

I have had an incident with someone out there I met in an IRC chatroom in 1998. We were not friends. The only thing I know anything about him was because he began a relentless campaign to stalk me. He went from chatting to me like we were friends, to sending me threats that he would harm himself—or me—because of me. When it got too upsetting, I asked more than one ex-boyfriend to intervene. He promised to stop. But then I’d find he was posting things about me on the internet; true, untrue, things that were out of context. When I moved to Atlanta, I didn’t broadcast my forwarding address to the world. But there was a card waiting for me when I arrived.

At some point, I told him to never contact me again. He became obsessed with the fact that I’d misrepresented myself on the Internet, because I’m not English (I was living in the UK when I met him), because I’m not an actress (just because I’m working in a different field now does not mean I was not once an actress), because I changed my name (you know, like half of Hollywood and New York celebrities), because I have a past that doesn’t conform with his expectations of being a good person. He’s done everything he can to make sure that any sense of stability I acquire, he can tear apart easily. Anything good I do, he can point out, “Too bad you’re a horrible human being and I can prove it”. For years, I’d block him on AIM, and he’d just create new identities to torment me. I’ve had to block him from communicating with me in every way possible. Yet, somehow, the guys I’m dating always end up getting anonymous notes, the details of my past are “outed” to every potential friend and acquaintance, and this guy has made it a personal mission to get me as close to being suicidal as possible. Even then, on my memorial page, he’d probably say “Why are you crying over this girl? Don’t you know what she’s like?”

I’ve attempted to reason with him. I’ve pointed out, ““If you don’t like me, just stay out of my life. My life is not your business. It never was. We never had any sort of relationship. I talked to the wrong guy in a chat room 15 years ago. That’s it. We never have to communicate, ever again.”

That, of course, is not good enough. We live in a “right to know” world, and he feels that because he didn’t have the luxury of knowing everything about me and my life when we met, anyone I cross paths with should know what kind of person I am. You shouldn’t hire me. You shouldn’t be my friend. You shouldn’t like me as a person. You shouldn’t be attracted to me. You shouldn’t applaud anything I do. You should do what you’re meant to do, in this day and age: judge me as harshly as possible.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve atoned for my mistakes. Mistakes have consequences; my life hasn’t been an exception. It doesn’t matter that I’m more empathetic and understanding of others because I myself am far from a perfect person. It doesn’t matter that karma has attacked me ten-fold, and I’m not quite the selfish bitch I was at 18,or even 21, or 25. It doesn’t matter that my mistakes have turned me into the person I am today, and my journey has given me a perspective on the world most people don’t have.

No, what matters is that you look at my past, and judge me…because the world is full of two kinds of people, obviously, good and bad. That can be easily determined with a background check, credit score, and internet search.

Every time this happens, I cry. I feel violated. I feel like I will never be allowed to live a normal live. And then, in true victim mentality, I remind myself that I deserve all of this and I am to blame for those who want to destroy me. If I hadn’t been a bad person, if I had behaved like everyone else, if I hadn’t had anything to make amends for in the first place, if I just kept a low-profile and lived a quiet life, this wouldn’t be necessary.

As many of you know, I have a friend who holds a position at Twitter. He is well-respected and rather high up in the chain of command there. The last time this person attacked me, and I cried because I felt so helpless and violated, I contacted my friend at Twitter. My friend knows of the existence of this person in my life, and promised he’d help get the post removed.

He then contacted me to say that the final word was that Twitter couldn’t just remove things because they were defamatory or revealed information about someone. I could block the person who was talking about me, but there’s no tool available to keep him from referring to me by name, linking to me, or anything else. He agreed that everyone didn’t deserve to know all the details about my life, and that I deserved a modicum of privacy and respect, but “it’s the Internet age. Nobody gets that. If every post on here that tore someone down was removed, half of Twitter would disappear. And people would go elsewhere to go off about how much they hate other people.”

He then told me a story about how he was personally victimized by Twitter and “reputational harm”, at the hands of someone he used to work with. These tweets were picked up by a writer and spun into a story. The story got around pretty quickly. He’d love to sue, but his lawyer has told him he doesn’t have grounds. Free speech, no invasion of privacy, and a “right to know” world.

It’s the society we’ve created. Anyone can say anything about you, and even if part of it’s true, you deserve any public judgment or reputational harm that comes your way. And, really, there’s nothing you can do about it. Learn to be tougher.

That’s why I was absolutely appalled to read in the New York Times about this app. Yes, we all want to know that a certain person is not a serial killer and isn’t abusive. Yes, I can joke with the world about how my taste in men once got so bad that I dated a guy dubbed “The Worst Guy In Atlanta” by a local publication.

But this, this takes invading privacy and finding ways to do harm to someone you may have negative, bitter feelings toward and putting it out there in public to a whole new level.

Nothing is sacred anymore. Nothing is private anymore, not even in the bedroom. And although I live much of my life online, there are ways in which I am certainly a very private person. This road we’re traveling down, the one paved with judgment and the right to condemn, rate, and malign others under the guise of “freedom of information” and “I deserve to know.”, it’s a dangerous one. It’s harmful. It does so much more harm than good.

A few years ago, I joked that I was going to develop a social networking tool based on all the people with whom I’ve ever hooked up, dated, had a relationship, etc. I would then send it to my friends, who could build their “tree”. You’d eventually see that your friend actually dated the guy you slept with once, and bond over it. This tool, of course, could be equally useful to men and women.

It was a sarcastic, joking idea…because it could never be implemented. First of all, it’s kind of appalling to erase all shreds of privacy in the world. Secondly, people lie. People get hurt and want to get even. People just want to hurt others because they don’t like them. “Apps” that are used to rate things and discuss people can be used maliciously, very easily. How many restaurants have suffered because someone didn’t like the owner and got all their friends to trash the restaurant on Yelp?

If anything, the Internet seems to prove that people are, at heart, judgmental and have no qualms about seeking revenge. And if there’s a tool that enables that, it will be used to cause harm to another person. And since society has agreed the only thing that matters is how someone looks on paper, the Internet is a great equalizer. We’re all equally defenceless against someone who’d like to destroy us.

Unless, of course, you’ve never hurt anyone, done anything wrong, and are perfect in every way. After all, that’s what you should be, and since you have nothing to hide, sleep easy.

The truth of the matter is, unless someone is an important part of your life, most of another person’s life isn’t something you have a “right to know”. If someone wants you to know something about them, they will tell you. Yes, you deserve to know your potential nanny doesn’t have a history of abusing children. Yes, you deserve to know before you give a loan to someone whether or not they are likely to pay you back. Yes, if inviting someone into your life may put you in physical danger, you deserve to know.

When it comes to who is gay, who’s been arrested, who is bad in bed, who isn’t liked by others, who has left a mysterious past behind them, who has colourful stories that might shock you, who has a bitter ex, who voted fow whom in the last election, who left their previous apartment a mess…well, frankly, you don’t deserve to know. That’s the whole point of getting to know someone; the more they trust you, the more they open up. Demanding that everyone deserves to know everything about everyone else without bothering with the trouble of establishing trust doesn’t just leave people feeling violated, it *is* a violation…and we are all potential victims. Twice, I had someone I thought was a friend print out entries in a “friends only” journal and share them with the entire world. These were grown women, not high school girls.

You think you won’t be violated that way because you know who your friends are? You don’t. And you don’t know who your enemies are, either, and what “app” is being developed that can really ruin your life, your business, or your all-precious “reputation”, until it’s too late. I hope the world thinks about that the next time it wants to use the Internet to take someone down, or to Google someone before even getting to know them.

9 times out of 10, what you think you deserve to know, you don’t. Three decades ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to you that you did.

And yet, we wonder why things aren’t so great. People don’t have jobs, corporations interfere in the private lives of citizens and make outrageous demands, we can’t get loans for college or mortgages to buy a home, less adults own property than ever, we’re fighting over the right to access care when we get sick, the economy sucks, and people are finding themselves either single or divorced in their 30′s,40′s, and 50′s. Nobody can ever meet the right person, even though we know almost everything about each other, thanks to “freedom of information”. So much of what ails us, we’ve created ourselves. Before we continue down this road of hypocrisy, every person should look at his or her own life, and ask: How’s this new society working for me?

Yesterday, I somehow got myself lost in the tangled spiderweb that is the past decade or so of my life. It’s easy for me to do this, because one of the advantages (and also disadvantages, I suppose) of living most of your adult life online and going through a period of being a prolific letter (i.e. e-mail) writer, is that you have a lot of written evidence of your personal journey and interactions with others that got you to where you are today.

The reason for my search was simple: Somewhere between 2005-2007, I had a Yahoo! account. It is one I no longer use, nor do I remember it, but it is liked to my long-inactive Flickr account. For sentimental reasons, I’d like to access my Flickr account, but when Flickr merged with Yahoo!, I must have created a log-in with Yahoo!. This account is likely long de-activated, but I was able to find the e-mail address I used to sign up with Flickr. It’s not useful, because you can’t sign into “old-skool Flickr” anymore. You need your Yahoo! ID. I wrote for help on this subject, explaining the conundrum. They said, “Just sign in with the account you used to create Flickr, and we’ll send you the Yahoo! ID.” Great, except the account is linked to “”, a domain I no longer own.

Two days of bashing my head against the keyboard yielded no results. I started to have fantasies about beating Yahoo! employees unconscious with a bat. The anxiety caused by communicating with Yahoo!, coupled with some financial worries this week, finally got to a breaking point and I told Yahoo! just how unhelpful they were and made a list of the reasons I’ve used Gmail since 2007. After that, I got a sound night’s sleep. Obviously, I am never getting into my old Flickr account, and the 2,000+ photos that are in there (many of which I lost when Kodak merged with something else and deleted years of memories) will not be rescued. Corporations suck.

In any case, I gave it a noble attempt. I reactivated a few Yahoo! addresses I remember having back in the day. None of them were it. I then looked in the “storage” folder where I stored voluminous correspondence from 2003-2006 from my former Earthlink account, hoping for some reference to initiating a Yahoo! ID. Nothing. But I did naturally get curious, and take a trip down memory lane.

I read some e-mails from ex-boyfriends I don’t always remember fondly, but happened to be reminded of some of the good times. I read some e-mails from some of my best friends, including one where I was apparently mad because a good friend of mine repeated some unflattering comments his college roommate made about me, and I was all sensitive and hurt by the opinion/comments of someone I did not know. (Ironically, I remember neither the comments nor why I cared. Even more ironically, the roommate who made them is someone I am now fond of as a person and consider a friend. Reading the conversation about how this person and I would never get along was like discovering the book you’re reading has ironic foreshadowing involved.) I read some e-mails from some people in my life who are no longer in it, but a part of me can see why I’d miss them (which is not the same as ever wishing to speak to them again.) I read some e-mails from haters, including a friend of a friend who seemed preoccupied with tearing me to shreds whenever possible, and referred to me as “Alayna-Renee Vilemont” or “Alayna-Renee Bitchmont”. He saw me as kind of an allegory for all that was wrong with society, and said some of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard from someone, until I started dating Southern boys and met their mothers. I even read e-mails from people I used to really love and idealise and wanted approval from, and now I look back, and think “Why?”

Some e-mails I couldn’t read, because opening up old chapters of life is too painful. I somehow managed to only concentrate on the positive ones, through the laws of random clicking.

One of the more amusing conversations I came across was from 2002 or so, before everyone started living every detail of their life on the internet, but I’d already been sucked into a world that included blogging, long-distance relationships, IM, and any way possible to over-share with strangers. (I’d like to think I’m a trendsetter. :P )

One thing that most people don’t know about me is that, although I will talk your ear off about nearly anything and tell endless stories about myself and my life that you probably have no interest in knowing—followed by expecting you to share intimate details about your life because you find me so endearing— I really suck at small talk. One of the reasons people don’t always hit it off with me is because the endless social niceties bore me to death, and the older I get, the harder it is for me to hiding. Instead, I’ll jump right in with the colourful stories and psychologically probing questions, because it’s far more interesting than knowing you moved here 6 months ago and have a cat. I really fast-track all kinds of social relationships, which can make a certain kind of person uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time or patience or interest to invest in people who are never going to be more than shallow acquaintances. Maybe it’s because I’m easily bored, and I want to hear about what makes someone different from everyone else, not the mundane details I could learn from reading your Facebook profile.

A good friend of mine is a similar type of person. Despite the fact that we met many years ago and logged endless hours on chat back in the day, he’s the type who grows annoyed and frustrated with some mundane,conversational type questions, like “What did you have for dinner?”. However, after a few years of talking to someone daily, you kind of become like an old married couple. The mystery is gone. What the hell else is there to chat about? Yet, you like someone enough that you don’t want to stop chatting because they now know your entire life story, and your present routine of “Sleep, work, internet, food, TV, weekend” isn’t terribly interesting either. Yes, I understand this is a somewhat boring question…but the point behind it is not. I think the habit of asking the question grew out of a relationship with an ex, which began as a long-distance relationship, and the conversation every night always included “What did you have for dinner?” It’s just a way of saying, “I’m curious about every little thing about you and your life, because you interest me.” Therefore, I get very annoyed with those who brush it aside as a “stupid question.” It’s not. Well, it is, but it’s not.

Alayna:”What did you have for dinner tonight?”
Alayna’s Secretive Friend:”Why? That’s a silly question.”
A:”I was just curious. Making conversation. You don’t want to tell me?”
ASF:“Well, I had roast beef. And potatoes. And vegetables.”
A:“Mmmm…that sounds good! What kind of vegetables?”
ASF:”Nothing special. Green vegetables.”
A:“Well,there’s lots of different types of vegetables, silly!”
ASF: “If you really must know, I had green beans. *annoyed sigh* GREEN BEANS, OK?!!

The funny thing about this conversation is that it is, again, kind of an instance of foreshadowing. A decade later, we live in a world where people perpetually photograph and Instagram their dinners, and share not only with their best friends, but the thousands of people they somehow know.

The world has somehow changed and technology has created a world full of people like me, who think every thought they’ve ever had is relevant. However, if everyone freely shares all the time, the process of opening up and sharing one-on-one with those you feel a specific bond isn’t quite so special. I, who once spent every waking minute near a “chat” tool, have largely gone back to old-fashioned letters and phone calls to keep in touch with those who really matter. Digital intimacy has been replaced by digital broadcasting, and it’s ironic that the more ways available to keep in touch, true connection doesn’t seem to happen easily via any of them. Once upon a time, it did, until it got easier and easier, and connection was designed to be as effortless as possible.

I find it funny that my views on communication have come full circle, and I disable all my chat tools. Facebook is great for checking in with acquaintances, but to be a good friend, you have to call me every so often, or better yet, make time to meet up and talk. I no longer ask anyone what they had for dinner, not because I don’t care about the people in my life, but because there’s no one with whom I spend all of my waking hours “virtually”.

In some ways, I think it’s so much better..and in others, there are things about that heavy level of communication I miss. What I know now, and didn’t then, is that quantity does not replace quality. When it comes to communication, the more we use technology to connect, the more disconnected we become, because connection no longer requires interest, effort, or putting too much of oneself on the line. It no longer requires thinking about other people, much less forming substantial bonds. Digital intimacy is now for everyone, and the way to communicate with those you value the most is to communicate in a non-technology-oriented way.

Sometimes, the more the world moves forward, the more we inevitably see the value in things left behind along the way.

It always bugs me when I end up reading/listening to media outlets that are full of endless amounts of bullshit, whether it’s Fox News, Glenn Beck, CNN using Facebook updates as “breaking news” sources, or this.

I understand that “journalism” is a term used loosely as it applies to the internet, since, to a certain extent, even this blog is an example of “journalism”. (No. Really. It’s not, I promise.) However, the same rules apply, regardless of the format your “journalism” is taking. Accusing someone of being fired from their job because they have a drinking problem, based on non-specific rumour that can best be described as “some stuff we heard from some people who kind of know about this stuff”—well, that’s not really responsible journalism, even from a site whose tagline reads “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news.”

Unfortunately, in America, that seems to be rather true. If you repeat something often enough, it becomes news, no matter how lacking in foundation. I guess that’s why we now have entire political movements devoted to repeating endlessly that our President isn’t a U.S. citizen, despite the fact that the assertion is simply absurd.

I’m waiting for the website or entertainment news/tabloid show that reminds us “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s lawsuit.” :P

Note: Once again, there’s a great, insightful post about this issue over at Green Tech Girl that’s much more well-written and informative than this one. ;)

The insanity regarding the recent changes to the functionality of Meetup.Com continues today, and despite the fact that both organizers and members everywhere are up in arms about the changes, and those who have organized groups (in some cases, for nearly a decade) simply want back control of the groups they’ve built from the ground up and paid to maintain, is strangely silent.

The number to Meetup HQ’s customer support line has been replaced with a recording, and all inquiries via e-mail are met with a canned response to the effect that Meetup is not planning on making any changes. In effect, they’re issuing a huge “Screw You!” to the people responsible for their success, and who keep them afloat, both financially and in terms of time invested.

Not only is Meetup.Com determined to be silent on the issue, they’re taking steps to silence others. Multiple organizers have had their accounts deleted for infractions such as posting the Meetup HQ phone number so members can make complaints or advocating the organization of a mass walkout on the site. Threads detailing complaints about the new layout have been deleted, even though they’re being replaced almost as fast as they are being deleted, and any discussion of the merits of competitors’ websites are very quickly silenced. They’ve even gone so far as to pull their App from Facebook, since thousands of people were using the page as a forum to discuss their dissatisfaction.

For an organization that’s decided to force the idea of “community without leadership, whether you like it or not” and everyone working together to make events happen, the attitude of the company is remarkably dictatorial.

Users are not just upset about the changes at this point. Meetup is behaving like the arrogant man who divorces the wife who supports him for years while he builds himself up, only to walk away and leave her with nothing so he can take up with a 21-year-old trophy wife. (see: Kelsey Grammer). The Organizers that have invested years of time, effort, and financial involvement in the site aren’t content to be left out in the cold or slowly edged out of what they’ve built, but unfortunately, Meetup is offering few alternatives. Like many that alienate those responsible for their success, Meetup will likely very quickly realise it isn’t upgrading or moving toward a brighter future, but heading toward its’ demise.

For those who care about such things, or are current Meetup Organizers, there is an ongoing list of the changes to the Meetup system that affect you. It seems to be growing daily:

1) Google Maps image on main page
2) “Helped Plan” instead of Organized by
3) No way to insert an image without knowing the HTML code
4) The new place for “We should do this because”
5) There are a lot of places text are to small & color contrasts make it hard to read (really hard for people with bad sight) example “paid”
6) Videos on the main page are gone
7) Pictures on the main page are gone
8) What’s new did not have all the changes, just the main screen change
9) Comments on the main site
10) You can’t really tell it’s a featured Meetup anymore
11) The top phrase “Lets Meetup and…”
12) About Us is no longer a main part of the site
13) Change from RSVP to Count me in
14) Change from Ideas to New Meetups
15) Small icons now for members
16) When you make a change the Meetup Description, it posts a comment and you cant deleted it.
17) The new “Like” link
18) Allowing members to create their own meetups (this can be disabled)
19) Nudge: if the organizer does not have a event posted
20) Removed the announcement to the group feature
21) Changing RSVP’s – You can now search by typing in the name
22) New Members – Get an email that tells them “you’re expected to participate and “don’t flake”
23) Layout in which: new members, new posts, new pictures, etc.. are at the bottom and members have to scroll down to see if you have a few events.
24) The Reminder Emails changed with new layout and subjects
25) Many options have been moved to the “Tools” menu when in an event
26) You lose all your event pictures (the small ones we used to pick from album)
27) When searching for a group, your description may not fully show (happened to me), need to edit it
28) If you had HTML in your description, when searching for a group your HTML code shows
29) Welcome email has “Our Sponsors” & “Perks”
30) Welcome email has “Follow Us” with all your social networking links
31) You can not archive sponsors. It’s either delete or edit
32) Check out our sponsors are at the bottom of the group description page if a non-member views the group.
33) Sponsor and Perks program are combined. Should be a way to distinguish them.
34) Calendar only shows one month at a time
35) About tab turned into pages
36) Selecting a place > Find a place > you can only search name & it’s only local searching. – Major Issue, possibly a bug.
37) Recent places is limited to showing 4 at a time
38) Unable to post an event unless you can find it in the event list. – Major Issue, possibly a bug.
39) There is no concept if ideas that you can monitor and choose from. Ideas turned to a Pre-Meetup and Organizers get an email that says within a day if you don’t cancel it, it turns into a Meetup. So if you don’t want this then you have to shut off the entire “Idea” concept.
40) Members can create Meeutps – This can be turned off. Found under the leadership team link on the main page.
41) Custom Titles that you give members now doesn’t show up when they RSVP.
42) RSVP turned to: “Count me in” & “No Thanks”
43) How to find the organizer has been removed
44) Calendar Notes no longer show on the calendar
45) Members cannot add notes with the “No response”
46) When members change from Yes to No, they don’t get a chance to write why
47) When an event has past, you cannot view members answer
48) On the left it used to say Organizer and Assistant Organizer, now it just says “Organizers”
49) Your group picture is what is now used when you click “Find” Meetup under the Trending/Upcoming/New
50) The mobile site on my BlackBerry,opera’s mobile browser, IE Mobile, Palm OS doesn’t come up anymore. It goes to the full site
51) Reports on: After the switch, waiting lists accidentally turned into “Yes”, so a limit of 10 with 5 on a waiting list now may have 15 people attending.Major Issue, possibly a bug.
52) This is SPAM link on top of the event
53) Recent Activity is pushed to the bottom of the page
54) All existing event descriptions now re-formatted to left-hand justification and there’s now no option to center text in an event listing.
55) Adding colors to the event description has been removed
56) Star rating for the group is gone
57) I just got multiple emails that said “Help complete XXXX” where XXXX is the name of a NOTE on the meetup calendar. possibly a bug
58)”Schedule a Meetup Event: no longer has a link to connect to the discussion board. Connection to discussion board can be added if you edit the event after it is scheduled.
59) Meetup iPad app not working (1 reported)
60) Emails announcing new events are no longer listed in the Mail Archive
61) Announcement emails can no longer be set to respond directly to the organizer, instead, like the old post feature, responses go to the whole group.
62) Sometimes Google shows the wrong thumbnail map
63) Can not save edits to a draft
64) Cannot navigate from one event (whether active or draft) to another event without going back to the home page
65) No More “Check-in” feature
66) RSVP’s (or “Count me in’s”) are no longer an option to appear in the activity feed
67) Calendar is no longer on the navigation bar

I’m not sure whether the Meetup fiasco is based on some sort of premeditated, evil plot to get rid of the organizers and move toward a system that makes that leadership role irrelevant—amounting to the company that insists you bring in clients, and then fires you when your base is loyal to that company— or simply the result of an idea gone awry that Meetup isn’t willing to lose face over. One thing is certain, and that’s that this issue isn’t going to go away. Meetup will either sacrifice a number of current customers, opening doors to competitors and development on the part of sites like Facebook, in order to move the company in a different direction, or it will simply realise that the success of any venture is highly dependent upon listening to the concerns of the customers.

I’ve seen this analogy everywhere lately, but it’s a highly appropriate one. If Coca-Cola hadn’t admitted it made a mistake with “New Coke” and brought back what the people wanted, the market share would be 90% Pepsi in the United States today. The powers-that-be at Meetup.Com should really take a lesson from that. If your goal is to unite people and exemplify the value of community, you won’t get there through divisive action, cutting off communication, and putting your profit margin above the needs of your customer base.