In the span of just a few weeks, an idea Tweeted and Facebooked between two international pals has compounded into an internet phenomenon: International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club.

 

international geek girls pen pal club emma emily

international geek girls pen pal club jen leslie
Through a series of Tweets and blog mentions, the pals Leslie and Emily are now a fearsome foursome and maintain a huge following. Along with Emma and Jen, they have created an online community of 2,000 members in less than a month.

They have been tasked with pairing girls (and some guys, too!) But this isn't just a random mish-mash of linking folks up. The process is pretty intense. The next phase of pairings is April 15th.

My pen pal, Steph, is like a long lost sister! She got married a week before I did. Both of our hubbies are geeks in their own right. We both are online entrepreneurs and (a key part of the matching process) love the IT Crowd. It's pretty insane. Here's the inside scoop from the IGGPPC crew on how this magic happens.

1) What is the matching process like?

The matching process is a labor of love on our behemoth spreadsheet! First, we split the registrations down into USA and rest of the world (as the balance of sign-ups has been split at about 60/40 for the first two rounds), then we break those two groups down further into ages.

We have implemented four Houses based on age range, with each of us taking responsibility for the ladies within our houses, both in the pairing process and on the forums. They are named for famous females in geek culture: Granger, Quinn, GlaDOS and Organa.

After that, we color all the different age groups and then put them back together in separate sheets. We each then pair the ladies that are in our designated house and work on pairing them up by process of elimination, pairing an American sign up with outside the US, until there are only Americans left. Then we try to match them from different states.

It is pretty time consuming but after a while you tend to go into auto pilot with it. It's fun seeing what all the different girls are geeky about!

2) How do you screen for fakes? Like, how do people know that they aren't writing 45-year-old creepy men? LOL

We don't have any real system in place, but because we are doing it all 'by hand', so to speak, it is easy to spot any that are a bit suspect (which there has only been one of so far!).

At this stage in the game we just have to trust that our new community is full of people who are not disingenuous and want to share and connect with other ladies on around the world.

3) Did you ladies match yourselves?
Leslie & Emily are matched up with each other as it seemed only right that we should be! Although with all the madness we haven't got around to sending to each other yet! And Jen and Emma were both registered in round one, so they got pals before they were even on the team!

4) What is the future of the club now that it is passed its initial matching phase?
Well, a week ago, we launched our website which has forums, news, blogs etc. As well as the website we are on tumblr, Facebook and also on Pinterest.

Oh, we also have a shop so you can get IGGPPC swag too! Other than that, we have had ladies clamoring for street teams and Con meet ups. The possibilities are endless, so we are just going with the flow.

5) I know this was a lot of hard work. What has been the most fun or least stressful part?

The most fun has got to be seeing the excitement that this project has garnered. Already we have made some brilliant friends and helped others find new friends too. Also tracking #IGGPPC on Twitter is also really fun. Gives you a glimpse into the community that we founded.

The most stressful part is probably the pairing, and the onslaught of emails that come after closing registrations from people who missed out and people who want to change their geek loves because they forgot to put something down!

 

 

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