A Casecamp participant, in promoting the event, alerted me today to the free website Upcoming.org.
It's an excellent Web 2.0 example (I hate that term, but it's a useful concept) but I think its functionality far exceeds the confines of just its own website.
Upcoming.org started in 2003 (again I'm discovering these things late - I feel like I've been in a como for the past 2-3 years). Many sites have done event listings and enabled organizing and promoting personal events (evite, for instance). The problem with these is that most websites just didn't have enough event listings or they only did a certain type of event (to use Toronto as an example, Toronto.com, Now and Backbone seemed to miss a lot of significant events and never broadened listings beyond their respective focus). evite et al were great to help host and promote events but didn't offer listings.
Event listings are no easy feet to do either. There are thousands of events going on in Toronto, probably in just one month. I hate to think about a city like New York. How did websites publish this before? I take it they'd have some sort of streamlined process, but ultimately every event must have had to some sort of manual review and some level of manual coding or inputing. A ton of work and explains why so many sites did events so poorly (badly organized, missing events, outdated, etc.).
What's cool about Upcoming.org, now owned by Yahoo, is that it greatly expands the potential and amount of listings.
Upcoming puts the listing creation into the hands of users to create private events or promote public events. Events are organized by city and type (eg. music, arts, festival, commercial, arts - they actually need more types to encompass trade events as for now they all go under "other")
Judging by the number and breadth of events listed, the site has critical mass, they just need to expand beyond their comparative ghetto. That's why I think their service would be way more useful if repackaged in Toronto.com. People already go to this site for this type of information and their editorial and community can add value beyond just a listing.
Upcoming.org does encourage community by having you flagging events that you are attending or considering. You can then see which of your friends are going or share events with friends easily.
Another, cool event website is Meetup.com.
Meetup seemed to take the idea and basic functionality of Yahoo Groups (which I have loved and used ever since I found others, a group even, of people as devoted and talkative about Xena, Warrior Princess as I was).
The problem with Yahoo Groups is that it is a lonely world and while it's great to post and email other Xenaphiles, it's nice to actually meet people in person some time. Meetup.com is devoted to groups that actually meet in person. Many types of groups and in your city! Even web-geeks needs some human contact every now and then - or just a beer/coffee.
While I registered with Meetup four months ago (I even joined the Toronto Web Centric Meetup Group) I haven't been able to actually been to a meeting yet.
Here's the rub... the Internet has enabled not only great social networking but also bringing unique, and yes often bizarre, groups together. It enables organizing public & private events and promoting them. But it still hasn't found a babysitter for me! Can't leave my two-year-old with Net Nanny.