Facebook Will Improve Your Social Life With This New Feature
Extroverts Rejoice! Now Facebook Finds You Parties.
After renovating its Events section, Facebook will give users suggestions about where to go and whom to hang out with. 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.That’s probably why you’ve seen more public events in your feed, as well as random notifications that one of your friends will be attending an event near you. 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. 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.
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. In addition, there’s a new “Suggested for You” section that algorithmically plans your dream night – or at least a pub crawl with dozens of drunk locals – based on the data Facebook has about you. Below that, you’ll find categorized suggestions with sections including Music, Food & Drinks, Nightlife, Sports & Fitness, Fine Arts & Crafts, Community, Film & Photography, Performing Arts, and Causes. 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. 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.
Combined with its personal data on what and who we care about, it’s the best at matching people to parties,” writes Tech Cruch’s Josh Constine. “Now, Facebook is waking up to this opportunity.” 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 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,” argues Constine. 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.
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Big changes are coming to Facebook Events