Facebook Upgrades Made Nearby Events Search Easier
Extroverts Rejoice! Now Facebook Finds You Parties.
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.For a rarely used feature at first, Facebook Events quickly became the most powerful tool in party invitations, and it is now taking an omniscient view of the landscape. 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. Facebook will no longer suggest random event dates, but will allow the user to specify if they’re looking for a party to attend today, on Sunday, this weekend, or maybe next week.
Users can browse events in 10 major cities, and sift through them using categories like “nightlife,” or “sports and fitness,” or “music.” Users will also be able search for events in other locations, too, which sort of flips how Facebook events really work when you think about it; instead of accepting an invite to an event and planning your day around it, now it will be easier to find something happening wherever (and whenever) you want to go. Things get even easier after that, as Facebook categorized suggestions Sports & Fitness, Nightlife, Film & Photography, Music, Food & Drinks, Community, Fine Arts & Crafts, Performing Arts, and Causes.
Instead of an uninspired list of events that you probably have no desire attending, you’re met with a nice interface that lets you take on a sort of choose your own adventure role to mapping out your evenings or weekends. If you’ve got for a feeling for what you’re up for, whether it’s a concert, pub crawl, gallery opening, or wine & cheese, Facebook can recommend where to go. And for extroverts on the move, you can now adjust your location to see what’s happening in whatever city you’re in, or peek at parties in distant lands. You’ve probably seen more public events in your feed, and possibly noticed an uptick in notifications about private parties your friends have invited you to. DoStuff has representatives in all the major USA cities culling through the endless crappy club night listings to suggest the best stuff…to do, regardless of category.
Concerts, sports, fitness, nightlife, all of these things will be at the tip of your fingers with the new app which is expected to revolutionize the way we plan our social events. 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. Although Facebook doesn’t seem to be earning money from upgrading their Events, they will probably gain even more popularity – if that is possible – as more and more people will turn to this app to find out what they’re doing tonight. 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.
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. For once, Facebook managed to include a filter in the event section, meaning that based on your profile information, it is able to compile a list or two of events near your location. But Facebook is the only company with near total knowledge of what’s going on and limited financial interest in steering you to one event over another. 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. Facebook said the two companies want to facilitate transportation arrangements for friends who are texting to each other without having to leave Messenger. 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? They’ll have two options to do that: either they tap on “transportation from the…” menu or on the address shared by a friend on the app by selecting “request ride.” Moreover, a friend will receive a notification when the other requests a ride from that thread (the same applies to group chats).
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. If Facebook plays these little mobile Event cards right, it could lock more users into its platform where it shows ads, become the best place to host the content people generate at Events, and even make money directly through sponsored Event suggestions.
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Big changes are coming to Facebook Events