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Road Trip meetup goes off without a hitch

CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman put the word out on Twitter and Facebook to meet up while he was in Boulder. People showed up, thanks to Andrew Hyde of Techstar

During the Road Trip 2009 meetup in Boulder, iPhones were a hot topic. CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman used Twitter and Facebook to organize a get-together in the Colorado city. Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks

BOULDER, Colo.--When I polled a series of social-media experts about how best to build buzz for my Road Trip 2009 project, one of the strongest suggestions was to host meetups along the way.

I'd thought to do that last year, on Road Trip 2008, but never felt like I had enough time to do so. Or, frankly, the network to organize anything worthwhile.

This time, however, I knew I had to do it. So as the trip got close, I reached out to some folks who seemed well connected in Boulder, told them I was coming to town, and asked if they'd be interested in getting involved in bringing people together for the gathering.

It turned out I reached the right folks, or at least I started the right conversation, because next thing I knew, I got a tweet from Andrew Hyde, of Techstars, which provides seed capital and mentorship to early-stage start-ups, offering to get his people to come out.

Over the next few days, we messaged back and forth, as I did with another Boulder resident, Brett Greene, of The Blind Influence. And the two promised that they would get some folks to join me at the meetup.

One thing I realized is that it's hard to get people in a town you don't know, who aren't already following you on Twitter and who aren't friends on Facebook, to come to a meetup you're trying to organize. That's why connecting with well-wired Boulder folks like Hyde and Greene made the difference.

And in the end, about 10 or 15 people showed up. We talked about technology, the start-up scene in Boulder, iPhones, and much more. I was nervous beforehand, but it went off great. I met some interesting Boulder Twitterers, learned about Techstars, and left feeling like next time I try to put one of these together, I'll know a little more about what I'm doing.

For the next several weeks, Geek Gestalt will be on Road Trip 2009. After driving more than 12,000 miles in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last three years, I'll be writing about and photographing the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. And in the meantime, join the Road Trip 2009 Facebook page and follow my Twitter feed.