Email notifications will play a greater or lesser importance depending on which group(s) you are assigned to. For HoustonPhotowalks, we rely quite heavily on the email for several reasons.
- We publish “final update” emails with information like where to park, how to find us, what kind of things to expect, gear to bring suggestions, etc. Some folks ignore (or suppress) these emails. Unfortunately this negatively impacts the fun they have on the event.
- We send private messages to folks to answer specific questions they may have.
- We send new event announcements, updates and schedule changes via email rather than meetup’s “comment” system. Comments can get very chatty, so important information will be sent via email instead.
- “Virtual” events or webinar links are sent via email directly to participants, not posted publicly.
Our only way to contact you about important event updates and details is through email. So when an email is sent from the group, we assume you have received and read it. If you have changed your notification settings to suppress emails from us (or do not read event emails we send), it will impact your ability to enjoy our events and event leaders will not be able to stop a photowalk full of people in order to restate what has already been communicated in email.
We work really hard not to spam you, and to make details as easy to follow as possible. But receiving and reading emails are critical to enjoying events in this group.
The meetup.com email and notification settings can be a little confusing. For one thing, they are divided into 3 sections: System-wide meetup settings, individual meetup group settings, and “notification” settings for those using the smartphone app.
Let’s walk you through how to find your email settings on the Meetup website, and which settings are most important for getting the most out of your HoustonPhotowalks experience.
General Meetup Communication Settings
Please note, the screenshots in this post were taken June of 2020, so there may be some changes not reflected here.
The first section we will look at are General Meetup Communication Settings. After you have logged into your Meetup account, click on your profile image at the top right, and then select Settings (https://www.meetup.com/account/). You will see a page that looks similar to this:
Side Note: If you have retired an email address or switched jobs, make sure and update your email address in Meetup. Meetup routinely culls members from their database if they detect too many email bounces. So if you have closed an email account and still want to maintain a life on meetup, log in and change your email address!
There are two sections marked in red that should be checked. “Messages” will notify you that you have received a new message from another meetup member (such as your organizer who is trying to get in touch with you). “Replies to my comments” will send an alert letting you know someone replied.
Individual Meetup Group Settings
Note that below the options on the screenshot above, there’s a section called “Updates about your groups”. You may have different email preferences depending on the activity in each group you are a member.
At this point, let’s click the “Edit” button next to the “HoustonPhotowalks Photography Club notification settings” section (https://www.meetup.com/account/comm/HoustonPhotowalks/. This will take us to individual settings specific to your HoustonPhotowalks experience. The page will look something like this:
For the best experience with the group, I strongly suggest having all of these items checkmarked, but that doesn’t work for everyone. The ones that I have marked with a red square are the most critical.
New event announcements
Sometimes people complain on our facebook group that events “fill up to fast”, and that they only visit Meetup.com once a week or so. If you have “New event announcements” checkmarked, you will automatically receive an email as soon as the event is announced.
Side note: We also publish event notifications on our facebook group (http://fb.com/groups/houstonphotowalks). Due to technical reasons and script event timing, sometimes events get posted on Facebook before email, and the other way around. It’s a good idea to receive messages from both.
Changes to event time or location
Although it is extremely rare, sometimes the event meetup date, time or location will change. Having this option checked will make sure you show up at the right place, right time, and right day.
New comments & chat messages
This setting is less critical, especially if you are not part of the comments/chat conversations on events. It’s typically better to email the event organizer directly about any questions you have. But if you post a question, you will not receive replies unless this setting is checked.
Event updates from organizers
This setting is extremely important. Please make sure this setting is checkmarked. Organizers are not able to individually message, text or call members when there are changes or updates. You must have this turned on to receive the “Final Updates” email that includes maps, etc. If you have this button turned off, event organizers will not be able to stop a photowalk full of people to provide this critical information.
Announcement to members about the group
Once or twice a month, we update members on new sponsorships, member-only discounts, and the current state of our budget. We also use this to discuss group-wide updates or changes to how the group is run. And we use this to announce non-event-specific photography opportunities and contests.
Other HoustonPhotowalks Email Update Options
Meetup significantly reduced the visibility of event ratings. For 10 years, we have maintained excellent group and event ratings, but the ability to find them has been greatly reduced. You may not want to receive “Event Rating Requests” anymore. If Meetup changes things so that ratings are important again, we will take another look.
Since we are a photography group, we hope people will log in and look at each other’s photos posted to Meetup. You can be informed when these are posted by making sure “New photos uploaded” option is ticked. The same goes for “Someone tags or comments on my photo”, if you are tagged in a photo, you probably want to receive an email so you can go check it out.
Three important final points
Email blocking software and spam
If you repeatedly delete emails from an address without reading them, you may be signaling to your email platform (such as Gmail), that those emails are unwanted. After you do this a few times, Gmail will start sending messages from that address to “Spam”. Make sure email addresses for your organizers and your meetup group are in your “Contacts” so emails are not sent to spam.
If you are using an email filtering service that requires email senders to “validate” an account, you may not receive meetup emails. Neither meetup nor your organizers can circumvent your email filtering software.
Some people who have complained they never get emails are using email filtering products such as Boxbe.com, Covideo, Boomerang for Outlook, BlueMailer, etc.. You will need to manually approve these emails out of your software’s quarantine. Check your software’s instructions on how to “white list” an email address so it is not automatically blocked.
Meetup has removed direct-email contact from the platform
Several years ago, Meetup allowed organizers to contact you directly via email. That made a lot of these settings unnecessary. Unfortunately, like most other social media applications, meetup moved to a “private message” or “direct message” model, where all member-to-member communications happen within the Meetup.com platform.
A Note About Safety
Some people receive unexpected messages from complete strangers. They can be people who pose as someone who wants to “get to know you” or “has important information”, etc. Or they want you to click a link they think “you might like”.
Unfortunately, this is usually a scam artist, an attempt to steal personal information, or attempt to trick you into installing a virus on your computer. If you receive such a message, click the three vertical dots next to their name and report them to Meetup.com.
The only messages you should pay attention to are from meetup group organizers or people you already know from meetup events.
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Hopefully this will help folks who are needing help making changes to their meetup