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Social events calendar shown off at DEMO, prepares to branch out from Boston

Thanks to a couple of boring weekends that SCHEDit founder and CEO Omar Tellez had in Princeton, N.J., my friends and I have a new way to keep track of our best options for every weekend in Boston.

SCHEDit, which was on stage at this week's DEMO conference in Santa Clara, has been called "Twitter for events" and has so far only been deployed in Boston. Leveraging the ever-growing Web traffic well that is Boston.com, SCHEDit is only accessible in Boston.com's section titled "Things to do."

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SCHEDit enables users to follow more than 200 local venues that pay to stream their upcoming live events on the site. Participants range from the Red Sox and Celtics to small local music venues known as O'Brien's Pub or Great Scott to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Symphony Hall or the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

When new events are added, SCHEDit users can then see who else is attending as well as those who "love" an event on the site, perhaps for those who may not be attending but are just generally excited that it's happening. And if that's not enough to sell tickets, the site also shows the male-to-female ratio of attendees so the single crowd can get an idea how they should dress. With that, it's no wonder BostInno called SCHEDit "the hyper-social calendar that sexes up the scheduling process."

Tellez says he first came up with the idea while living in Princeton and only hearing about interesting weekend events in the equidistant Philadelphia and New York after they had already happened, making for disappointing weekends and regretful Mondays. A more concentrated system was needed to keep others like him abreast of local events as they were announced.

Boston, however, was a more logical starting point than New York or Philadelphia primarily because of the Web resources it offered. Boston.com is not only the website of record for those in the Boston area, it's also recognized as one of the most successful regional news site in the country. Last week, the Boston Globe, whose Internet subsidiary Boston Globe Electronic Publishing operates both Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com, became the first publication to win nine of the 10 online news awards the Radio Television Digital News Association issued for its region. Seven of those winning entries were published on Boston.com.

After SCHEDit's six-minute presentation at DEMO, the panel judging demonstrators only had one real criticism: complexity involved with creating an account. However, as a curious music nerd who lives within walking distance of several of the venues on the site, I created an account during the demonstration and didn't encounter any issues. Accounts can be created with a profile on Facebook or Twitter or even just an email address, and the only additional personal information required is the user's city and gender, which, given the aforementioned attributes, is important data for the site's functionality. From there, venues and sports teams are listed by icon in a scroll bar, where they can be selected and followed just like Twitter accounts.

Moving forward, Tellez acknowledged in an interview that moving into other markets would entail a more comprehensive approach when finding partners, citing such considerations as Web traffic and demographics for users. The wheels are in motion for a mobile app for the site as well, Tellez added.

In the meantime, SCHEDit has been capitalizing on the marketing opportunities that come naturally to a company drumming up interest in events. Earlier this month, SCHEDit was a media sponsor for Boston's electronica and dance music festival Together Fest, which attracted an estimated 15,000 attendees.

Tellez, however, did not specify which markets could be next on SCHEDit's schedule (or is it the other way around?), so whether he can reap the benefits of his own creation remains to be seen.

Colin Neagle covers Microsoft security and network management for Network World. Keep up with his blog: Rated Critical, follow him on Twitter: @ntwrkwrldneagle. Colin's email is cneagle@nww.com.

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