I used to live in an awesome share house with a bunch of introverts. My roommates and I and whatever friends happened to be over at the time would often sit around the living room with our laptops: doing homework, sharing links and playing cards on games.yahoo. One friend used to consistently find the best links. Then one day he told me that signups were finally re-open on that site where he found all the cool links. I signed up, even though I didn't really know what it was. He assured me it was worth the five dollars.
It was a year later that I had a desk job with 20 hours worth of work and 38 hours worth of time. I had previously only briefly perused the front page, but then I had the time to read it every day. And I started reading Metatalk too. When there wasn't enough new content, I'd read through some of the historical threads. And then the wiki. By the end of the year, I had a pretty good grasp on a lot of major players, the major site history and the in jokes.
But that still doesn't really describe how I found Metafilter. The first meetup I went to was the Portland 8th Anniversary Meetup. Save the friend who introduced me, I had never met a mefite in real life, nor had I ever talked with one one-on-one. I knew so much about this place and its members, but it was a very one-way relationship. It was a tough decision to go to the anniversary meetup: I was afraid that I'd hate everyone or find everyone really annoying or boring and then my fantasy dream world would be ruined. But the meetup was amazing! There were so many interesting, cool, neat people. I had some great conversations. And I fell in love with this place even more.
Since then, I've gone to meetups in tons of places and I've met some really great people. I've had interesting and challenging conversations and made some great friends. Even when I didn't make lifelong friends, I still had a great night out with thoughtful and intelligent people. Going to meetups has confirmed that you guys are real and you are as awesome in person as you are in text.
8th Anniversary Meetup
Going to the 8th Anniversary meetup in Portland was like being at the Oscars, except instead of standing on the edge of the red carpet with a camera, I was chatting and drinking and playing video games with all the celebrities.
Vacapinta thought I was crashing and was about to throw me out. I managed to mutter something like "My user number is 20601, I joined in 2004, I know I don't comment very much but, um, Oolong and We have cameras?" He let me stay.