I’d never truly experienced FOMO (fear of missing out) until SXSW. If you know anything about the show, you know that it’s a mecca for social startups and their increasingly feverish attempts to educate and entertain. In other words, you can schedule and schedule and schedule and you will most assuredly miss something amazing.
It doesn’t help that in the months, weeks, and days leading up to said show, your inbox is inundated with invites to parties and panels. And given that there’s one of you, four days, and 100+ events, you could say there’s some fear (although I’d classify it as anxiety more than anything).
Which is why my meeting at SXSW with timeRAZOR was so appropriate. The geo-social app has branded itself as the answer to our FOMO problem, which is something that many platforms try to do and succeed at to varying degrees.
“Every day you go about your day and there are interesting things to do and events and experiences you really don’t discover unless you’re actively looking for them or planning ahead of time,” says lead product marketer Victoria Clark. “You get into a routine.”
Clark explained that with timeRAZOR, the team has been working to create an algorithm for events that takes into account your personal calendar and zip code. The app will also learn from your activity so it can further personalize what it offers.
TimeRAZOR gave us a sneak peek at the app this week, which launches today for iOS and Android. The app’s three main features are smartEVENTS (showing you what’s happening around you), travelTIME (takes into account traffic and alerts you when you need to leave to get to an event), and easySHARE (so you can push events to Facebook, email, SMS, or Twitter).
There are more than a few options for GPS-aware event apps. Foursquare has its Radar feature, Groupon and LivingSocial can find deals near you, and Sosh will soon expand beyond San Francisco. Each of these platforms have something that sets them apart, as does timeRAZOR. In short, the app a has more of a grown-up feel than most in this space do: the UI is organizational and isn’t image-heavy (which is good or bad, depending on your preference). There’s nothing terribly flashy or visually interesting here, but the big sell is its integration with your phone’s calendar. TimeRAZOR shows you your planned events, including anything you scheduled via the app or marked in your calendar, so you’re getting a thorough look at what’s going on in your life. It sounds so basic, but it isn’t a function available in every app like this.
There is room for improvement. For instance, nearly every possible event for me was a concert. Portland might not be the busiest metropolis, but I know there are other types of activities available. And the descriptions could use more details, though the “planned” and “possible” event categories are a nice touch to quickly and easily note what is going and what could be going on. Automatically having this merged with your iCal as well as notes showing whether something is near your work or home are useful features that haven’t been implemented on a wide scale.
Jury’s still out on whether timeRAZOR — or any app for that matter — will be able to surmount the FOMO hurdles social networks have created, but it’s certainly an interesting, and highly organized, attempt.