Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

I'm "intown2" have a meeting; are you "intown2"?

Social networking sites are so last year, events sites are very this year - and intown2 is trying to cover both bases. If you're in London, or Seattle, or San Francisco or wherever for a day or so, and a friend of yours happens to be there too, why not meet up? Well, usually because you don't know they're there at the time. Put your address book and your calendar into intown2 and as long as they do the same, you'll be able to catch up with people.

This has the same barriers to entry as any other social networking site: you have to put in all your friends (by hand or by importing a CSV file) and so do they, plus you have to enter your travels one at a time. Obviously there are privacy issues with importing your address book and calendar into a public site wholesale, but there has to be a better solution.
- Offer the service as an add-on for existing social networking sites like Linked In, where you can cross-check against your address book, you've already done most of the work and where there is a big enough pool of other people who have too.
- It would be a natural add-on for Plaxo, where you're already trusting them to keep addresses up to date.
- Offer to scrape your address book in the same polite way Linked In does rather than making you export a file by hand, and offer to scrape the calendar for multi-day events as a starting point (always with the option to leave an event out).
- Or go the distributed route like FOAF; when more people have calendar info published on line, a site could aggregate it and help you find passing friends that way.
It's quite late to start a social networking site from scratch, even with a clever idea like matching locations. If a lot of people have to do a lot of work for an non-deterministic reward (you might not find any travelling friends going your way), even a free site has a high cost.

And the free account only allows you to add 10 friends; I think I can keep in touch with that many people by email, actually. The public events categories are an odd mix of sport, theatre and gay pride marches. The site asks for the cities you visit most but doesn't offer those as quick options when you create a trip. There's no widget to put on your web site encouraging people to click through to intown2 to check if they're going your way. It's a nice idea, but there are a lot of rough edges.

Tags: calendar, events, intown2, links, location, mobile, technology, travel

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