New Meetup.com Will Finally Get You Off the Internet

fifth elem New Meetup.com Will Finally Get You Off the InternetChange is coming to Meetup.com.

The site, founded by Scott Heiferman in 2002, is not as sexy as Foursquare or as hyped-up as Twitter. But Meetup was a social network before social networks were cool, and it’s still going strong–which is more than a lot of proto-social networks can say.

In fact, 2010 was Meetup’s first profitable year. “And we did it while keeping our soul,” Heiferman said at the January New York Tech Meetup. Meetup is again embracing its slogan, “Use the Internet to get off the Internet,” which was retired from the site in 2009, and the words now appear in subway ads across the city.

Meetup recently announced its group buying initiative, Meetup Perks, which will allow business to offer deals to specific Meetups. But the site has more changes in store.

A mysterious event on January 24 in Irving Plaza will mark the unveiling of the “new Meetup.” Already 580 people have RSVP’ed, but the event will also be streamed live. “New big stuff,” Heiferman teased on Twitter. The dresscode is specified as “future.”

New big stuff–hm. Could it be a location-based app? Meetup Video Chat? Meetup Questions? A phone?

Most likely, the announcement will be a snazzy redesign. With such a publicized event, Meetup better hope its users like the redesign (or whatever it is). Devout users don’t always react well to big changes–remember the day Digg died?

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries