A quick proposal to make Saskatoon a better place to live

This afternoon Wendy, Mark, and Oliver are at the 2011 Caswell Arts Festival.  It’s a great event and a lot of fun.  One problem, we almost missed out on it because we never heard of it until the last minute.  I am not blaming the organizers or anyone else.  They have always done a good job getting the word out but for some reason we were not in the places where the word was.

It brought back memories of some of the political campaigns from the spring where everyone was using Facebook to publicize their events and campaign.  It’s great if you are are on Facebook and happen to be “friends” with the candidate, not so great if you are not logged in and don’t use the book with a face (like myself).  So how do you publicize your events to the entire city?

To help get the word around, I am going to suggest that more of us use Yahoo!’s Upcoming service to publicize events in Saskatoon for the following reasons:

  • Saskatoon on Upcoming.orgIt’s free to signup (most of us have a Yahoo! username already)
  • You don’t need to be signed in to view events and get information.
  • It’s free to post events and add venues.  Every couple of weeks I find some time to look around and post some things of interest to the site.  Even if I don’t plan on or can attend, it lets others know about the event.  Both Google and Yahoo! Search Bing spider the site which means that you are making it easier for anyone to find the event.
  • It links up with Flickr so any photos that you posted to an event can be linked back to it.
  • It’s neutral and user generated.  You don’t have to worry about someone not liking your event and taking it down.
  • There is a place to add a link for the event and for tickets which means that the event organizer gets some Google love and people can go to the appropriate site for tickets.
  • A lot of people are using it already and you don’t have to be the organizer of the event to post it there.  I tracked down a lot of events that Wendy and I are thinking of attending, found some graphics and created the listing from their website.  If the event organizer wants to change it later, they can do that as well.
  • It shows what events you are attending as well as the events your friends are going to.
  • It offers the ability to create a group of friends, colleagues, or special interests that you can organize around.
  • It will feed other sites that publicize information like radio stations, television stations, the paper, community newspapers, school newsletters… you get the idea.
  • It’s open instead of closed like Facebook. 

As for the kind of events.  Everyone of Saskatoon’s festivals should be listed.  Hilltops, Huskies, Saskatoon Blades, and Saskatoon Yellow Jackets games.  Public events at the University of Saskatchewan and SIAST.  Political AGMs, rallies and nomination meetings, events at the Mendel and the WDM, and even City of Saskatoon information and public meetings, church special events (just don’t post your regular service times), press conferences, and neighbourhood barbecues.   You name it.  If you want the city to know about it, post it online.

The end result would be a big online public square where we could come and discover what is happening in Saskatoon but also what our friends are doing.  It would add a lot to city life in Saskatoon and be a great experiment in crowd sourcing everything that is great in our city.

I am not even that stuck on Upcoming, there is also Eventful but I am not fond of the ads everywhere and I prefer the Yahoo!/Upcoming interface.  So if you are interested and agree, sign up, post an event (or let people know you are attending an event), and let your friends know.   Then link to the Upcoming page for the event when you are talking about it.  If you want to, add me as a friend.

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