A cool thing is happening through sites like blogging service Xanga, review site Yelp, and Twitter. Some of their faithful users have started attending meet-ups, where folks who interact online and live in the same geographic area can actually meet—in person! What a concept.

Now, here's the really good news: These frothy public rendezvous-points open up plenty of room for brands to join the fun, ingratiate themselves, and encourage a few WOM-worthy memories.

Some ways to invite yourself to the party:

Sponsor a Yelp Elite event. A few times a month in major cities, Yelp hosts free events for its top reviewers—enthusiastic young people who love getting together and trying new things. Advice: Don't hard-sell; just let 'em sample. Yelp's elite is generous with its praise, but can also scald if pushed too hard.

Start a Facebook Group. This'll enable you to keep in touch with your fan base and tell them about local events you're hosting in their area. Advice: Use its RSVP features for events you choose to broadcast.

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