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Launching Events in Early March: Community Update 2.13.13

Privet, Couchsurfers! We’re really excited to announce the upcoming launch of our new Events system. Members of the beta panel have been working with us to test Events for almost two months now, and we can’t wait to share it with the larger community very soon.

Background

Before we started developing Events, we already had another other meetup feature on Couchsurfing: Activities. (Some members also still have access to the predecessor of Activities: Meetings.)

For each feature we rebuild on our new technology platform, we have to choose whether to simply copy it from the existing feature or make serious improvements. Activities are a simplistic feature. There are a number of basic communication and promotion tools that Activities just don’t have (mass messaging, ability to repeat, etc). So we decided to create a new, easy-to-use and powerful system to support the meetups Couchsurfers organize every day, all over the world.

Our first step was to reach out to active event creators: people who have been organizing weekly meetups and Couch Crashes for years. By the time we launch Events, we will have spoken with over 100 active members about what they want and need from an events system. Twenty-five of those individuals have been testing Events with us as members of the beta panel for almost two months.

Let’s dive in to what we came up with together!

Highlights of Events

Events can happen once or on a recurring basis. Allowing events to repeat was easily the most requested feature of the new system. We never once considered making a new Events feature that didn’t include repetition.

Members will be able to create events that recur every day for up to two weeks. This type of repetition should help members who are organizing ride shares and roadtrips, as well as the people who organize Couch Crashes.

Members will be able to create events that recur weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. The “CS Weekly” events that happen all over the world are some of the highest quality events within the community. These events are fantastic for new members to meet locals to give them references before a trip, and provide a place to meet each other.

Members can “follow” recurring events to get messages and updates from the event organizer. We wanted a way for people who create popular recurring events to get an overall list of members interested in their events, so we made recurring events follow-able. This means the event organizer can easily message everyone who’s interested in their event about a special upcoming weekly or other opportunity.

Event organizers can mass-message members going to their event. With one simple message, any event organizer will be able to get in touch with the members who have joined their event. This will simplify giving directions, phone numbers and other information. And, if the event is updated by the organizer, the changes will be automatically shared with the attendees.

Members can share events with their friends. For a public event, any member who has joined an event can share it directly with their friends on Couchsurfing.

Keeping Activities Online

We’re planning on keeping the Activities system up for some period of time, to allow everyone to move their Activities and Meetings to the new Events system. We will not be migrating Activities into Events.

Activities will be listed along with the events on Place pages but you will need to directly access the Activities URL in order to create one.

Once we’ve moved most event creation to the new system, we’ll shut down Activities and Meetings for good.

The new system will do a better job highlighting your event, since they’ll have more visual prominence and be easier to navigate and discover. Since the system is designed to help make your events more successful, please move your previously creating events onto the new system! And let us know what you think. We’re excited launch this, and continue to improve it with the help of additional Community feedback.

Thank you, Beta Panel!

Many, many thanks are owed to the thorough work of the beta panel for testing and using this system over the last two months. Without the help of Kalyan Pokala, Brian, indoneezyan_gurl, the_juanderer, Tobias Kick, Geoff Soper, JessRK, Fabian Dreher, Olivier CHARVET, Stefano P, Piotr Mikita, Darek Wedrychowski, BRAMZ, Adam Danz, Mimmo Panza, Gerrit Deterts, Marcio Cota Martins, Ilmer van Golde, GPIKKIO, Giampiero Calabrese, and Massimo Bennardo we would not be where we are today.

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