I was exploring sights related to ‘events’, possibly motivated by Esther Dyson’s upcoming When2.0. There is something puzzling about this.
Most sites are being developed — according to the impression that I got — for making events important. The goal is to help people find things related to events. It is clear, however, that events are interpreted in a narrow sense as ‘scheduled events’ that people will want to put on their calendar for planning purposes. No body will disagree that these scheduled events are extremely important. These events help us in planning our time and help us get information that will help us participate in the events of interest. It is nice to see that these sites are also going in the direction of utilizing social and community tools to help people find what is really interesting. Interestingness depends on what our friends and other people in the community find interesting. Amazon.com has capitalized on this concept and populaized it.
There are all these other events that are not scheduled they just happen and then result in creation of other events. Many new events are created that are also unscheduled and may scheduled events are also created as a result of this. So Katrina was definitely an unscheduled event but it did result in millions of scheduled and unscheduled events.
If one wants to deal with events, it is easier to deal with only scheduled events because they are well structured and can be obtained easier by going to different sites and now RSS and other related techniques make it easier. Also, one could get community involved and get them to enter events. Thus, one could start using flickr model for events. And this definitely is a good step in making events what they deserve to be. But this is just the first step where we are bringing relatively structured events and their information to people.
The next step is to consider all events — scheduled and unscheduled and bring them under the same umbrella. The interest in News, whether in Newspapers, radios, or TV, is due to this fact that all scheduled and unscheduled events are at one place.