some of you will have noticed the occasional meet-ups of local Fairphoner groups (especially our vigorous Viennese vanguard, but also my own modest efforts). My own personal motivation behind starting the Aachen meet-ups is primarily this: Getting Fairphone owners in touch with each other in order to perhaps making it easier to ask other locals for help in case of technical issues with your FP – stuff like „my battery is dying and it’s out of stock in the shop right now, does anyone have a backup battery that you can lend me in the meantime?“ or „I have delayed the storage upgrade for ages, but my FP is so crammed now it’s hardly usable anymore, would anyone be willing to walk me through the procedure in person?“. I am aware this borders support, but I think there are a lot of cases when a fellow local Fairphoner can be a great (transitional) help. Frankly it makes me whine to see someone searching in vain on Facebook and our forum for a transitional FP spare battery in LONDON for days and weeks when the Greater London area probably has 100+ Fairphone owners (I think that is a conservative guess) and several of them would probably be able and happy to help out, but just never get to hear the call for help.
If local groups want to focus on other activities, go beyond, develop some activism, that’s great, too.
Now what I actually want to start a discussion about is how Fairphone could help getting local/regional Fairphoner groups/networks started. I am aware of the tips provided at ✏ Tips on how to organize your (first) Fairphone community meetup and support them, but I think finding your local Fairphoners through this forum and Facebook alone reaches way too few of those who might actually be interested. I’ll just throw some rough ideas into the discussion here, bearing in mind that I want to keep it simple and not creating a ton of additional work for our already overloaded Fairphone staff.
The Fairphone ordering process could include an „authorization box“ that would (if actively ticked) allow Fairphone to forward your e-mail address (optional: a different one from your ordering email address) to a potential local/regional (volunteer) Fairphone group organizer. Of course, this only helps with future buyers.
Fairphone could send out an e-mail to all Fairphone owners to inform them of the possibility to submit an e-mail address and their country and zip code into a database of Fairphoners interested in meeting up (or just virtual organizing) at the grassroots. Ideally it would be an online form (I think just encouraging to write an e-mail won’t do the trick).
Fairphone could provide a very basic organizing tool on their website that would allow to „create“ local groups yourself (what I have in mind here is something remotely resembling what I learned to know 12 years ago when cheering for Howard Dean: meetup.com, just much simpler, and perhaps something like doodle.com). Obviously, this would be the most demanding approach on Fairphone’s part.
Now be civil, please. I think many of us like Fairphoner meet-ups in person, and I believe it really takes just a tad bit more encouragement and a little technical paving the way to kickstart more of these.