Phil Gyford


Saturday 1 November 2003

PreviousIndexNext Semi-public events

A while back, while my mind wandered as I watched the first couple of parts of the Cremaster Cycle, I was thinking about how to announce events semi-publically. Continuing to think about it sicne then hasn’t got me much further, so here’s my half-idea.

Sometimes, when I’m going out, maybe to the cinema or the pub or for lunch, it’d be nice to invite more people along. But it’s not a big event, so I wouldn’t want to compile a big list of addresses to email. I’d just want to quietly say to people “I’m going there at this time; come along if you like.” More like posting something on a weblog, rather than emailing it to people. It wouldn’t matter whether no one or a few people turned up. And I’m stuck on how this would best be achieved.

I have in my mind some kind of shared calendar. I keep thinking of RSS-type feeds of events, so I could, say, subscribe to Tom’s feed and find out when he wants to meet friends for Sunday lunch. I doubt most people would announce such occasions very frequently, so I’d want to aggregate all the “feeds” I was subscribed to into a single calendar view. “Oh, look, Matt’s going to the cinema tomorrow, or… Lee’s also invited people round to watch a DVD. Hmm…”

But I’d also want to control who could see my feed. I’m a friendly guy, but that doesn’t mean I want to invite total strangers out on a day trip. Maybe I’d even want various levels of permissions — there are some people I’d be happy to invite anywhere, but some I’d prefer not to invite to every event. But, to avoid offending people, I wouldn’t want the latter group to know they were on the “least favoured” list. Maybe this would be something like PeopleAggregator’s profiles (although as I’ve never managed to convince it I’m not Mary, I’m not 100% sure what its profiles do).

So there’s my vague thoughts, hardly progressed since I was sitting in the cinema wishing I’d invited more friends to endure Cremaster with me. I’m not 100% convinced it would be workable, either technically or socially, but it’s nagging at me, and maybe if it nags at more people it’ll either fall apart or become a more solid idea.

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