Finding Events is Getting Easier But It’s Far From Cracked

March 18, 2012

The Event Space is huge and far from solved.

By far the largest Event platform today has to be eventbrite and as of 20 seconds ago they were saying that they’d sold over 50 million tickets for a variety of events. That’s just the paid ones. That doesn’t include all those free little gatherings that people have created.

Then there’s the Facebook event thing o- which is still a little hit and miss from a discovery perspective but as cindy points out is on the road to improvement. It really needs to go open mind, and be location and keyword searchable. Facebook API are you listening!?

I’ve read people talking about foursquare as a discovery platform but for me it isn’t really zoned in on the whole event space and neither should it be really, but it’s certainly a vehicle for a tie in.  I guess this is the part where I say something bold and outreaching, let’s try  ”We here at Events Near are going to explore ways in which we can enable users to check in to new events they add, once they are there”.  If I say that we aren’t kidding and hell why not then it might be taken a little more seriously, eventually.

I hear some people ask the question, oh hang on what value does that add exactly, and why, who really cares about who went or what they did or what they shared!?

I do, and why wouldn’t you?

So please, bear with me for a second – If we consider the notion that events and their existence are of course different things to different people for different reasons then we can at least begin to understand that there really isn’t a once size fits all approach to say a page that might look to promote or discuss it. Be it a 4sq tie in a highlight or a glancee or a banjo or a sonar  or a twitter thing the point is that all of those apps are being used by people who are going to these things. Whilst they are there and in the vicinity, yet when you subsequently investigate the event or the space there’s very little evidence of it all.  It’s gone, lost, Kaput.

Some of it is the fault of the people creating their events online. Some pages are just crap and have the attention grab power of an ice cube on a polar cap ( we are still very guilty of this) . Personally I think I might spend about 20 seconds reading an events page – and on those occasions it’s usually because I’m either already bought in to going or have a serious interest that requires me research a speaker or an aspect. When it comes to simply browsing by topic or area, it’s very difficult for me to convince myself to hang around.  Most of the promo pages are bland or poorly formatted, or just lost in the moment of when they were created.  There’s often little evidence of life or vibrancy. No effort to pull in or make sense of the 100′s of 1000′s of perspectives that may be related created by the people who took the chance to check them out.

How many people do you know who have been to a summer fair or a conference or a sports game buzzing with a story around how cool it was or how they just generally enjoyed the whole experience?

The people, the ambience, the setting, the venue. Very little of this is ever communicated on a subsequent or follow up events page which from the perspective of someone new to an area or absent of any insider info is a crying shame. This is of course 2012, we have an awesome interconnected online space with 100′s of 1000′s of people running around with smartphones and blogs sharing all and sundry and yet much of this is lost to a past. People do things, share things and move on. Very few things from the past make it in to the future. The reference points are few and far between as promoters efforts are focused on gaining attention for the future.

So, what if we could do a little more to at least harness some of what happens in the now and make it available in those places that people happen to land on from a search engine somewhere. It makes absolute sense to supplement a page that uses hashtags with external content that discusses it. Whilst it may degrade overtime a page like this for example includes conversations from Twitter. Whilst far from perfect, outside of the promo text perspective, visitors to that page can see people discussing the event with links to other related perspectives. I think that the general idea of using social in this way can be much improved and enhanced. Stuff around, who attended, are they influential, what did they think, where did they go whilst there (restaurants, hotels, shops, transport) are all points of value and reference to someone else looking at the place.

Sentiment could be mined from commentary around the event – how were the facilities, was that wifi any good, who was rocking the space in speaker field. The possibilities are of course limited by the imagination and will to make it all happen. Trust me when I say that I appreciate how huuuuge such a thing would be to pull off, but it’s certainly possible.

I guess what I’m really saying here is that the day when promoters could just rock up, talk some marketing speak and slap a big price tag on are in the descendency.  We’ve all seen how sites like Tripadvisor have just opened up the hotel space and made hoteliers more responsive to the needs and concerns of their visitors. We’ve seen how Yelp have done similar for food establishments and there’s no real sign of any of this consumer driven transparent democracy slowing down.

Gotta love a challenge! :)

I’m Rob, follow me on Twitter

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My name is Evan - I Do event related stuff. Check out my posts for more information or hit me up on Twiiter, Googleplus or Facebook!