I went to a meetup last night in Guildford. I really wasn't sure what it would be like or why I was going. It seemed like the sort of thing that I would like doing but couldn't really understand why people would choose to give up a Saturday evening to meet up with a bunch of strangers.
As it turned out the group was made up of 4 people who already knew each other and lived locally, so I can see how this got off the ground in the first place, the other two attendees were me and a guy who is just getting into LAMP development.
The evening went really quickly and I didn't get a chance to speak to everyone but I was interested in hearing about their background and what they do now. It was refreshing for me to be able to speak to people that share a common interest and not feel like the "odd" one out.
What happens with the group from here is to be seen. There is talk of setting up a project on github and us all working collaboratively as a learning exercise.That would be a great idea for many reasons and I think everyone would get something out of that.
I personally took away my own list of things to look at, starting with learning phpunit and Git. I also really need to work on some big Zend Framework projects. I may try to get more involved in Concrete5 CMS or perhaps try to get more involved in Zend Framework directly.
Whatever happens I found the meetup concept to be a positive experience which I would recommend to anyone.