Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How Planga Solves the "Event Discovery" Problem

Some time ago, we wrote a post describing how Facebook events fail to be effective for college students.    I'd like to expand upon the discussion in a two-part post by sharing the top two most voiced needs by college students in 2012 based on our surveys.  To most college students, it's obvious how Facebook and other social services fail to solve these problems, but to those of us who already graduated, it may not be.  The #1 problem voiced by students about campus events is:

"I want to see everything that's happening on my campus today/tomorrow--and I want to know what's worth going to."

Before Planga, there never was a tool that allowed this to happen.  Crazy, isn't it?  Between e-mail blasts, flyering, chalking, word-of-mouth, and .edu websites, students had some idea of what's going on--but nowhere was it all easily displayed.  '

How Facebook Fails: Facebook events work through friends exclusively, so you can be invited by a friend to an event, or see an event a friends is attending in your news feed or his/her profile.  Facebook's newest events feature recommends "suggested events" based on stuff your friends are doing.  The problem is, most of these events are happening halfway across the country, or just aren't relevant at all.  A good portion of them are, "Come see my band perform," "I lost my phone, send your #s," and "Support me in running my marathon."  Even if Facebook decided to abandon it's school-centric roots, is it too much to ask to just see all real events happening in my geographic area at least?

How Planga Succeeds:  Planga solves the event discovery problem by using a unified groups and events system.  All upcoming events are displayed on a map of campus so that it's incredibly easy to see what's happening.  The map pulls the public events off of every group's calendar, eliminating the needs to even "submit" the events to the map to be displayed.  Furthermore, the event icons are sized by popularity or friends attending, making it extremely easy to pick out the hot events, which events you might be interested in attending, and even which are offering free food.  Planga also has a fully searchable and sortable way to discover new events, allowing students to find exactly what their looking for in seconds--without having to scour profiles, websites, and flyer boards.


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