The Web Can Do More – Sir Tim Berners-Lee at Davos

Yesterday at Davos, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said of the behemoth that he helped create:

“World peace has not miraculously occurred. People still mainly talk to their neighbours, people still mainly talk to the people who have the same religion, and the same culture, so for all its breaking down geographical boundaries in principle it hasn’t really broken down cultural boundaries. Can we develop systems on the web which will actually help solve that sort of challenge?”

I couldn’t agree more with that. As powerful and as cool as Social Media is, on the whole it only really connects you to the people you know already.

Giving people the opportunity to connect with those around them who they’ve never met before is what I want Eventility.com to do, and it’s what the world still needs.  I have no idea if the person who lives five doors down from me has the same interests as I do, we could actually have loads in common, but I have no way of knowing and that’s something I want to change!

Someone recently fliered our area asking “are you interested in sewing, I’d like to create a sewing club”, and the CEO of a recently sold multi-million pound business told me that, even now, the best way for him to find out about what’s going on is still the basic Gumtree, or his local village noticeboard, newspaper or the Post Office.  Much local information is still found by some very un-technical means.

Many have tried, and are still trying, to solve the local information problem, but I believe that at Eventility we’ve created the platform that will help connect the world’s organisers with everyone else, because that’s where serendipity happens.

Sir Tim also pointed out that while the web is about openness, “each of these social network systems is a silo so there is a frustration that I’ve told it all my data but I don’t have access to that”.

I agree that you should be free to port data. If you create a platform and eco-system where data can flourish and spread, then you become powerful for people, you connect them to everyone and that’s really what they want. If you’re an organiser, it’s a service you should expect, and that’s why we built Eventility that way. It’s also why Sir Tim’s partner-in-crime on ‘Open Data’, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, agreed to join our advisory panel.

Open data is something that often sounds scary to people – “what about my privacy?!” – they shout.

Right from the moment I started building Eventility, I looked at the other businesses around the world and felt they were too open with my personal data. I don’t want everyone to know what I like or what groups I’ve joined, and the fact that those same businesses won’t let me have my data despite publishing it on the web for their own financial gain is pretty ironic.  I felt then, and still do now, that people deserve to have their privacy respected as the default, not the opt-in. That way you can build an eco-system that is safe for children and CEO’s and open for those that need and want it to be.

“The web can do more”, said Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, today at Davos and I couldn’t agree more.

Robin Brattel, Eventility Founder.

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Honourable Intentions – New Year Resolutions and How to Keep Them

New Year resolutions have been made since the beginning of time.  The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval times, the knights took the ‘peacock vow’ at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

It’s now getting close to the end of January, and the New Year and any resolutions we may have made seem like such a long time ago. We might have promised ourselves go to the gym more often, get up-to-date with the DIY, drink less, join a club, learn a new language or even fall in love.

So, did you make a resolution and keep it, or did you, like so many other people give up after a couple of weeks?

It’s pretty common at this time of year to find people breaking their New Year resolutions.  A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman at the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people found that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions failed, despite the fact that 52% were confident of success at the beginning.

Last year, an Interflora New Year resolution survey found that just 33% said they expected to keep their resolutions for the whole year, 56% were unsure and 11% said that they expected not to keep their resolution. Those sceptical ones were proven right, of the 39% who said they made a resolution in 2011, just 5% managed to keep theirs for 9-12 months. Over a third of last year’s resolvers lasted less than three months with their New Year aims.

What kind of resolutions do people make and break?

Year on year, the top resolutions don’t really change very much and according to the University of Scranton, USA, the top resolutions for 2012 were:

  • Lose weight
  • Getting organized
  • Spend less, save more
  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Staying fit and healthy
  • Learn something exciting
  • Quit smoking
  • Help others
  • Fall in love
  • Spend more time with family

Why are we so bad at keeping resolutions?

According to Forbes.com, some of the reasons New Year resolutions didn’t stick were:

1. Didn’t make a plan for itA lot of people forget that a resolution is really just a goal and it requires structure, otherwise, it’s just a wish.

2. Forgot the reasons why you were doing itMotivation matters and if you don’t know why the goal is important, it’s easy to drop.

3. Didn’t plan for setbacksNo one is perfect, we all fall off the wagon at some point. You need a plan for what to do when this happens and how you’ll get back on that horse.

4. Didn’t have a strong support network – Support is important with any goal, it’s important to surround yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing and want to see you succeed.

5. Took on too much too fastMany of us get a little over-keen around the New Year, we want to make huge leaps of progress overnight, but real growth is a slow and steady journey.

6. Weren’t accountable to anyoneit’s easy to get persuaded by that nagging negative voice inside your head that says you’re not cut out for this. An accountability partner helps keep you focused and on track, even when you think you’re ready to throw in the towel.

7. It wasn’t that important in the first placePerhaps you set a goal that others wanted you to set or one you felt you ‘should’ set. It’s easy to give up on something that never really mattered that much to you in the first place.

So, what are the hints for keeping your New Year resolutions?

1. Choose a goal that matters – Don’t do it for anyone else but you. If it’s not something you truly believe in, you’ll never succeed. Take some time out and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.

2. Avoid previous resolutions – Often re-visiting a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Choose something new or approach an old problem in a new way. For example, instead of trying to lose 3 stone in weight, try exercising more.

3. Plan aheadLook for possible obstacles and prepare for how you’ll deal with them.

4. Take it one step at a time – Often people make the mistake of trying to achieve too much. The chances of success are greater when people channel their energy into changing just one aspect of their behaviour.

5. Recognize that things will get hard  – Unexpected obstacles will get the better of you but that’s no reason to give up completely, find ways to forgive yourself and keep motivated.

6. Gather your supporters  – Let them know what you’re doing and why and ask if you can count on them to help you reach your goal. Joining a club or group is a great way to get support from like-minded people and help spur you on when you feel like giving up.

So, if you want to improve your health consider doing classes – Aerobics, Zumba, Sh’bam and Pilates are popular ways to get fit and help lose weight. There’s also the group mentality, which is perfect for that extra ounce of moral support.

Want to meet new people and try something new? Then joining an existing activity group or club could be what you need.

Why not use Eventility.com, to set up your own sports or activity club or join an existing one – you can search for what’s on in your area. Eventility is free and really, really easy to use.

https://www.eventility.com/

Social Media for Sports Clubs Infographic

Of the 6000 plus clubs, groups and communities that use Eventility.com to organise and promote their fixtures and events, sport is one of the most popular areas.  Local clubs and teams, as well as sports organisations such as the Sport and Recreation Alliance and spogo are turning to the web to help reach potential new members, communicate with existing members and organise their activities.

As our CEO, Robin Brattel, says: “Organising a team or club has always been a tricky business, frequently involving the time consuming process of emails and last minute text messages. But social media platforms like Eventility have the power to change all that by providing a free one-stop-shop for team or club organisation and promotion”.

With that in mind, we put together this infographic (below) to look at how sports clubs of all sizes are using social media platforms successfully – and some rather less successfully.

As you’d expect, the London 2012 Olympics were a huge social media triumph. There were over 150m tweets about the Games and 67% of British adults used social media to follow the action live. Spice Girls aside, Usain Bolt attracted the most mentions with tweets peaking at 80,000 per-minute following his victory in the 200m.

Of course, here at Eventility we’re especially interested in how local sporting events make use of the web. It’s encouraging to see that 76% of sports event organisers use social platforms to promote their events, but this figure is only 50% when looking at smaller events.

I’m sure this will improve throughout 2013 – and we feel we’re playing our part by offering an amazing free platform to help clubs stay organised. Just in case you missed our pitch: Eventility helps teams and groups to save time, effort and resources, and to communicate easily with members and reach out to new members.

Sport and Social Media - Eventility Infographic

Sport and Social Media – Eventility Infographic

New Year, New Look and Feel, Plus More Features and Improved Functionality

Eventility New Home Page

It’s the New Year so Eventility.com has a fresh new look as well as improved functionality and some fantastic new product features.

Here’s What’s New…

For Clubs, Groups and Communities
Member Lists – Get organised for 2013 with this powerful feature that lets you organise your members into any number of different lists so that you can communicate with them by email and SMS even more quickly and effectively. Learn more
Message Board – Replies are now sent via email to the group organiser and anyone else who replied to the post
Daily Digest Emails  – Roll up of the message board activity and is sent to all group members. A group/event organiser email includes additional activity e.g. new members joined today, number and type of RSVPs
Photo Upload  – Uploading to a group gallery has been improved and now allows multiple images to be uploaded at the same time
Facebook Posting – if you manage multiple Facebook accounts you can now select which ones to post your reminders to (See My Account > Facebook)
Email Controls – We’ve simplified the layout and clarity of the email controls (See My Account > Privacy)

For Places and Venues
Simplified Configuration  – Checkboxes now allow fine granular control of exactly what is displayed on your venue listing
Rooms Descriptions – For managed venues we support the addition of rooms with description, quantity, rate and image
Booking Solutions/Widgets – Other third party booking solutions/widgets can now be included
iLike – Your venues can now be ‘iLiked’ by anyone on the site allowing them to be added to your venue community

For Place and Venue Communities
New Offers Widget – We’ve enhanced our offers engine to work in a similar way to events with organiser and live views. Promote your offers on your site with the new offers widget
Offers Report – A report is now included to reflect the number of downloads, check-ins and the overall redemption rate. Promote your offers on your site with the new offers widget

Mobile App

Our mobile app is on the Android store  with fantastic augmented reality ‘on the horizon’ functionality

Eventility in the Google Chrome Store

Eventility is now available in the Google Chrome webstore. Click here to get a fab shortcut to Eventility whenever you open a new tab in Chrome and don’t forget to rate and review – we love 5 stars!

Eventility.com

We’ve moved to .com! – Don’t worry, all your events are still there on .co.uk

Plus, lots of other tweaks to the site and bug fixes!

We hope you love the new changes as much as we do, so why not go and have a look around on Eventility and try out the new features.

There’s also more information on these changes on our Eventility Support Site.

We’d really love to hear what you think of the new changes or if you have any site requests, so contact us.

Why I Started Eventility – Robin Brattel

I often get asked why I started Eventility. Mainly because I faced the problem of friends saying we should meet up and it never happening, so I decided to start running a monthly get-together where we’d all grab some food and a beer and catch-up with what was going on in our lives.

ProfilePhoto300by300_edited

Robin Brattel, Eventility CEO and Founder.

Very quickly, it became really difficult to manage and I realised why we hadn’t managed to meet up!  I had to send emails to more than fifty friends, three, sometimes four times a month, to say where and when we were meeting, manage all the RSVPs, and then keep reminding them.  That alone was a major task and it occupied many a train journey home. Finding somewhere to go in the first place was also a huge effort.

My experience in technology as a Director of Digital meant I knew there was a better and easier way to do this.  I looked around (back in 2007) but nothing really fitted the bill so I started developing a solution – automated email reminders came first, RSVP tracking next, then the guys said “we want text reminders!” so that came next. I built and tested everything on the successful and demanding London thirty-something friends and they didn’t hold back on their constructive criticism! They still don’t, and that criticism and feedback was, and still is vital.

Pretty soon I realised that what I’d created was an answer to a genuine problem millions of organisers faced – how to simply and easily organise a group.

I found a few ways I thought it would work financially, told a friend, my co-founder  Barrie (who thought it was a great idea), I came up with a name, Eventility, from Event + Utility to describe it and then started investing time and money and taking it seriously.

Around this time Bebo was peaking and everyone was talking about Facebook, and in a way this was scary but I knew our platform would be different – less network, more social  – it’s about groups of people taking co-ordinated face-to-face action together. It’s true that Facebook has become a global phenomenon of social interaction but in the words of the social and technology evangelist, Clay Shirky, “it’s still not very good at dealing with the group pattern” – I think Eventility is!

We now live in a world where a variety of web sites have done an incredible job of connecting people together in virtual space. However, their interactions in that space tend to be fleeting, impersonal and trivial. I wanted to create a web utility which was a means to a deeper end – of people actually meeting in the real world and doing activities together, making the web a tool to enable people to have more vibrant and social ‘real’ lives.

We also realised early on that venues want to attract organisers as they bring in the business.  Whether it’s someone organising a birthday party, the football club captain organising post-game beers or someone hosting a major event, the venue wants to attract them because they bring others. That’s an opportunity to connect two groups together create value for everyone!

To prove our model and concepts to ourselves, we doubled down on one sector – pubs.  In hindsight, this could have been a mistake as the pub sector in the UK had suffered a difficult few years. But now as we look at a business that has pivoted from purely digital to digital and print and with revenues and traffic growing, it’s both proven we’re not barking mad but also that we have the experience of building a good solid business.

The challenges I’ve faced getting to where we are, have been interesting to say the least – Recruiting a team who share the vision, financing the business, building a technology platform people want to use and that can scale globally, keeping up with the fast pace of change in technology.

And despite all this, one thing hasn’t changed, the desire to build the best platform for organising and promoting groups, events and venues and at the same time, providing everyone with an amazing database of things to do and places to go.  I still look around and think that’s a wide-open space waiting to be captured.

Real world social networking – we need them more than ever

Real world social networking is no longer perhaps the fashionable thing, since the rise of social media. But the benefits of face-to-face contact with people means, that it can never really be replaced. Twitter and Facebook are becoming ever more important tools for businesses to communicate with their target markets and keep on top of competitors, but can these mediums ever really rival human contact?

Business clusters, or business parks – where companies working in the same field are situated in the same area – show the importance of real world social networking. The most famous example of this is perhaps Silicon Valley, which is home to many of the world’s largest and most influential technology centres. Working in an environment dedicated to the field has helped entrepreneurs thrive in the area and has led to the creation of many new businesses.

In the UK we have the lesser known Silicon Roundabout, an area just off Old Street in London, whose cheap rents and fashionable underground lifestyle originally attracted a young tech crowd in the early 2000s. Now, it is the technology hub of the moment.

Real world social networking in these business clusters is said to have three major benefits:

 it increases productivity;
 it drives innovation due to the heightened competitive environment;
 it creates new business in the area,

Although modern society has embraced social media, we still need to realise the importance of real world networking, and make a conscious effort to build face-to-face relationships with as many of our fellow human beings as possible. Simple things like hearing someone’s voice and looking them in the eye, gives us a sense of who they are and allow for relationships to develop based on trust and mutual understanding, which is much more difficult to achieve through more impersonal mediums.

Email and social networking sites, although great for reaching a wide audience, are not as influential or effective as face-to-face meetings. Emails can be considered spam and business cards discarded, but a face is much more difficult to forget.

Real world social networking gives one the opportunity to showcase what humans are naturally good at, relationships.