Last year in February, I was bothered by how unfortunate Friendster had become, and I mentioned somewhere in there that they (and other social networking sites) needed to suck in functionality like evite, where you can send out party invitations to friends and get RSVPs online, be able to see who is and isn’t coming to an event.
I tend to use evite for all my party invitations, and it’s big with my friends as well. I like the RSVP features of it, especially, and that it’s fairly easy to put together an invitation. I also like that it creates a map to your location, so you don’t have to send out directions to everyone.
In Austin for SXSW, lots of the parties and events were planned using upcoming.org, which is an events planning site that’s pretty slick and interesting. It has a clean, easy to use interface (which is better than evite – evite is a little clunky to maneuver, slow loading, and way too hallmarky). It’s most obvious focus is as spot for announcing big public events. There are a few listed for Indianapolis, but I don’t think it’s taken off here they way it has in bigger cities. Austin seems to be very plugged into upcoming.org, as are cities in California and New York. Once you’re logged in and profiled on Upcoming.org, it gives you a list of public events that are going on near your zip code, which is cool.
The big difference between evite and upcoming.org is that evite has social networking capabilities – you can add people you know as friends, look at the events they’re going to, etc. It’s not quite MySpace + Evite, but it’s somewhat that direction. Upcoming also has features that let you add events to your google calendar and ical, and their integration with maps is much better than evite. It also lets you tag events with key words, so that other people can search for them, which is dandy.
But you can also plan and send invitations to private, invite only events on upcoming.org, which I did this morning for my Colts Bonfire event.
It seemed pretty interesting, but I’m bothered that my only way of having contacts is if they’re also a part of upcoming.org. I can’t keep my address book there. The other thing that bugs me is that I can’t see a list of people I invited to the event; I can only see if people are planning to attend or are “watching” the event.
So I don’t know if upcoming is a replacement for evite, but it is interesting, and a bit more fun to use.
UPDATE: Upcoming.org has a suggestion box for new features, and I visited there to suggest the things I mentioned above, and found other people already had entered them, and I had the ability to give a “thumbs up” on their suggestion. COOL.
2019 UPDATE: I think Evite is still around, but upcoming seems to have fallen by the wayside. Facebook has taken over event planning to a large extent. And there is Eventbrite for scheduling things where tickets are required.