Big changes are coming to Facebook Events
Big changes are coming to Facebook Events.
Facebook events are one of the more maligned parts of the nearly ubiquitous social media platform — invitations to them come often, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere, and they have a tendency to bombard users with notifications.If you sort of know what you want to do – whether it’s a pub crawl, concert, wine & cheese, or a gallery opening – Facebook can be the waiter to your mood.Facebook’s insatiable thirst for data is about to pay off: its most recent updates will help you find parties, concert tickets, and events in your area. First, rather than suggesting Events on random dates, you can now specify if you’re looking for something to do today, tomorrow, this weekend, or next week.
Facebook has become the standard for online event invitations almost by accident, but the company is finally embracing its status and completely revamping the way users find, share, and attend events. While Facebook has let you search for nearby events in the past, the app now presents them in a much cleaner manner, and also affords more granular control.
According to a Tech Crunch report, a recent iOS update has offered greater flexibility when searching for events, and even recommends similar events that may interest a given user. The new events page offers the ability to search for different types of events, including music, food and drinks, nightlife, sports and fitness, fine arts & crafts, community, film and photography, performing arts, and causes. You can adjust your location so to check what’s happening in the city you’re currently in Peeking at events located in distant lands is also something Facebook deals with now.
And that’s more than can be said about popular apps that have traditionally been more focused on what’s going on in the community,” wrote Wired’s Molly McHugh. “I recently spent a Saturday morning looking through Yelp to see what was happening around me to no avail. While Facebook’s new feature will encourage users to spend time with other people, in person, at real locations, rather than online where the site earns money, a revamped Events section might bring even more users to the site. If Facebook can unlock that, and also encourage my friends to go, it will have an easy advantage.” Other companies such as Eventbrite and Foursquare have launched apps using similar business models, but they never took off. A number of events discovery attempts have been made by other companies, but few have reached audiences large enough to sustain a growing business without the help of Facebook’s massive user base.
It’s a good thing that Facebook planned to make this change regarding the event section, because, most of the time users will get bored at being assaulted by waves of boorish events. Eventbrite, for instance, focuses heavily on the sale of tickets, while Foursquare has remained focused on location services while offering little in the way of data-driven real-time event suggestions. But after Aditya Koolwal joined the company as the product manager for Facebook’s Event team, she realized that more than 50 percent of people used Events for public events, rather than private parties. “We realized that we hadn’t really built a product that was for public events,” Koolwal told Engaget in August. “So we decided that we’re going to really pursue private parties and public events as two separate paths.” Really, it’s starting to feel like Events could be its own app: browsing, invited, bookmarking, RSVPing, scheduling, calendaring, buying and using tickets, checking in.
Songkick’s comprehensive concert calendar, alerts, and its willingness to show gigs it doesn’t sell tickets for makes it the prime place to find music. DoStuff has representatives in all the major U.S. cities culling through the endless crappy club night listings to suggest the best stuff…to do, regardless of category. If an event app is going to do it right, it should be a combination of Eventbrite, Yelp, and for social purposes, Facebook—which is a lot of different things to be.
Paper and Moments were standalone apps that could have easily just been woven into the Facebook fabric, but instead the company pushed those services into their own apps, a strategy that it seemed like Facebook would continue using. Except that it hasn’t: The social network recently launched live videos for all users, formerly the main feature of its standalone Mentions app, and killed Creative Labs, home for app experimentation, along with Slingshot, Riff, and Rooms.
Here are a few ways it’s recently revamped Events, which had a staggering 450 million active users as of July: Why does Facebook care about upgrading Events? At the same time as shuttering all this, Facebook launched the Notify app, and its Groups app is soldiering on. “For Facebook to want to build a standalone app, it typically either wants to stifle potential competitors or test new ways of interacting with users,” says Digital Clarity Group analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe. Basically, he says, Facebook doesn’t even have to do something well, it can launch an app and based on its name recognition, kill the competition, grab a new audience’s attention, and gather data for itself.
Later, the company can do whatever it wants with that app—kill it or keep it—and still have all that new user data it can fold into its massive social platform. “A good example [is] getting teens engaged again with Facebook, and it’s doing this successfully via Instagram,” says Pelz-Sharpe. “Over time, those users will hopefully be reintroduced back into the core Facebook family.” Events is also doing fine all on its own, and lately the usability has gotten significantly better. Right now, the mobile Events tab lets you toggle between upcoming events, invitations, events you’ve bookmarked, those you’re hosting, and those you’ve already gone to. One thing Facebook could improve would be understanding the difference between low and high quality events by comparing the invite count to how many people RSVP’d.
Right now it’s showing me tons of smarmy, generic club nights where professional promoters spam all their friends with invites but few people actually want to go. Plus, people make friends at Events, and if Facebook is responsible for both getting you there and keeping you and your new buddies connected, you’ll keep it a part of your life.
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