I sympathize with all the creatives involved in the redesign, since whatever they had come up with, there is going to be someone who doesn’t like it. With that said, I unfortunately am in that camp, and I’ll tell you why.
First off, it’s not a good thing whenever a logo has got to be explained to be understood, and even with the explanation it doesn’t (for me anyway) make an impression. I have never thought of a meetup as a “swarm” and don’t consider myself a part of one when I go to a meetup. Maybe on Black Friday I will be part of a swarm, but is that a good thing? The swarm concept with the logo, is only apparent when it is animated, otherwise, it just looks like a drop of something red (ketchup, blood, ink..take your pick), with an awkward looking “M” in it. Or maybe it is a blood soaked cotton ball.. a puffy red cloud.. which brings me to..what is that shape supposed to be anyway? Am I suppose to imagine it is a bunch of little dots so close together that it makes that kinda puffy red shape with a few straggler dots outside? Compared to other marks like Twitter, Soundcloud, Evernote, Instagram (I picked logos that seemed to have similar challenges), I don’t feel the new logo is visually or conceptually strong.
The “nametag” icon was luckily for Meetup a natural, and I thought that the very first time I saw it. It said I was going to meet with people I didn’t, or might not know. Instead of “The nametag represents the most awkward moment in the entire Meetup experience” to me, it represents that I am going to meet people like me, people that are interested in the same things I am, people I am excited to meet, people that may become my friends.
Most importantly, the nametag in a way does the same thing your site does, it facilitates people coming together.
Sure, the old logo was a little clunky, but that was part of it’s charm, and could have been updated by updating the type used for “Meetup”
Sorry if I rubbed anyone the wrong way, I didn’t mean to, I just thought you had a really good logo before, and the new one was a move in the wrong direction.