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Some how-to's on event listings

We seem to be getting more event listings (and more Correntians attending them, and reporting, which is great). So herewith a few comments on writing them:

First, click "Publicize an event" in the middle sidebar. When your event listing is complete, it will show up under "Upcoming Events" in the right sidebar until it happens. (This is why it makes sense to post as an event, rather than as a blog, which will be rapidly pushed off the sidebar). Also, your event will show up in the Corrente calendar. If or when we get many more events, the calendar will increase in importance as an organizing tool.

Also, events need not necessarily have a physical location. A radio broadcast can be an event, for example. Or an online chat or a live blog.

Basically, the idea is to help get people to the event (and also, if possible, to report back on the event (and also to inspire others)). So we want to make everything as easy as possible for readers. I've tinkered with all the current event listings (except for the Rapture) to show what I'm thinking (and improvements are welcome, of course).

Remember that although our readership is not, er, humongous, it is a national readership. That means that your event not only builds strength locally, but can inspire others to attend or even organize their own events. So, a headline that is obvious to you ("Occupy the capitol!") may not be obvious to all (as "WI: Occupy the capitol in Madison!" would be). Somebody in IN, say, might read "Occupy the capitol!", react "That's nice...." and pass on. The same person might, however, read "WI: Occupy the capitol in Madison!" and connect your event with all the other coverage... And organize their own event. So it really can help to be precise and memorable in what you write. Many small drops make a tide...

1. Please begin the event headline with a two-letter state abbreviation. Example: "MI: Rally in Lansing Against Snyder's Tax policies." This makes it easy for readers to scan down the listing in the sidebar and see whether they might be able to attend. If you want to add the city, do so in the remaining part of the headline: "PA: River-to-River March in Philly To Protect Water/Environment from Fracking"

2. If the event has a physical location, please try to take a minute to get the event map to work, since we want to get as many people as possible to attend. The map really will work (I fixed all the examples) although I grant a little effort is needed. However, keep in mind that the map is generated by Google, and so if you can see the map with a Google search on the address, you will be able to get it to display in the listing here. Also keep in mind that computers, although stupid, also also predictable. Here are some tips:

a.) The state listing should be fully spelled out; that is, "Pennsylvania" and not "PA." Predictably, Google will fail on "PA." Note, in the box where the state is to be filled in, a little circular thingy on the right. That means that if you start typing, "P" for example, a short wait will yield a drop-down with "Pennsylvania" on it, which you can then select. Or you can just type in the whole state name.

b.) The street listing needs to be simple (because computers are stupid, remember). First, just like states, don't abbreviate. "St." will predictably fail. "Street" will be. Second, intersections are unlikely to be understood: "K Street at Weasel Avenue" will predictably fail, but "1500 K Street" will.

c.) Famous place names mostly succeed. For example, "The White House" works fine by itself.

d.) The map will show up in the post Preview. If you get a map that's close to where you want, but not exact, you can click on the exact location. A red Google pin will appear and the map will center on it. Press Save and your red pin will appear in the event post, showing the location

Next, if you yourself are attending the event, please, if you can, take and post pictures and ideally videos! (I thought what LostClown and danps did for WI and OH, respectively, wonderful. Green shoots!) Also, if you can tweet, contact Hipparchia and she will set you up to twitter in the sidebar. Here again, LostClown and danps showed the way.

Finally, I know the events aren't as easy to use as they might be. There's not much I can do with the map functionality, other than to reiterate that if the location shows up in a Google search, you can get it to show up here. I would like to be able to allow bulk imports of events, but I need to do some investigation on whether that's compatible with what we already have.

And thanks again to everybody who posts events. Even if one or two new people attend, that's great, because they will tell ten people, those ten will tell ten, and so on (and even more than ten, if they read Corrente).

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