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A List with a Tw.ist

From David Letterman to People Magazine’s List of the World’s Most Beautiful People, people have a loving relationship with lists.

With this phenomenon in mind, it makes perfect sense that actor and writer B.J. Novak (The Office) and buddy Dev Flaherty developed and released an app for users to read and create random lists from celebrities, non-celebrities and various organizations/businesses at the end of last year. This fun escape can be anything and everything. A couple off-the-wall lists include, “Free, funny responses you can use at Home Depot when salespeople ask ‘Are you a homeowner?'” and “Philosophers I’d Most Like to Get a Beer With.”

Both valid inquiries.

Like any technological venture, there are bugs (not those kinds of bugs) and slight improvements that need to be made from time-to-time. A couple days ago, Mr. Novak and Mr. Flaherty announced version 2.0 for their ever-growing collection of lists by and for the people, which has 150,000+ of these people making lists for you and I to enjoy at our leisure.

“Today at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2106, the founders announced they’re rebranding the app with a friendlier name by simply calling it li.st. The app is also arriving now on Android, with a web launch soon to follow.”
–Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Mr. Novak and Mr. Flaherty also announced that a web version of li.st will be available to users in a couple months time. And, surprisingly, the infrastructure and resources needed to launch such a seemingly simple app concept wasn’t exactly cheap.

“The founders also disclosed they had raised $2 million in seed funding for the app last year.”
–Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The amount of money needed to make an app on your smartphone can be astounding to learn. Very few things in this world are ever free (cough cough Bernie Sanders). To celebrate the revitalized digital application (sorry for the long-form), shall we make a list of why lists are wonderful?

Sorry Letterman, but 10 is an unoriginal, overused number for lists. Let’s go with 8 today.

The Crazy Eight Reasons Why Lists are Awesome:

  1. How else do we determine if we should continue dating someone?
  2. Going to the grocery store would be impossible…and dangerously unhealthy (oh, food with actual nutritional value, I knew I forgot something!)
  3. Naming a human life (Thor, He-Man, Clark Kent and Detlef Schrempf are just a few boy names that I’m reserving, so back off)
  4. Determining the best flavor of Mountain Dew
  5. Ranking the Friends characters (this debate gets real and fast!)
  6. What stuff is your favorite stuff, which will determine the stuff you’ll take on vacation and what stuff you’ll leave behind in your house that you bought to keep your stuff in (George Carlin, still a genius)
  7. The basis of existence for women’s and men’s magazines (6 Ways to a Six-Pack or 9 Ways She…you get it)
  8. Eight reasons why the number eight is actually number one in a list of best numbers

How about a list of your favorite blogs?

At Number One: Jimmy’s Daily Planet!

Boom. Listed (Marshall Eriksen, your legacy lives on).

The Next Social Experience

The million dollar question (actually, more like the billion dollar question) is what will fill the social media void currently occupied by Facebook, Twitter and the like?

My guess is something oddly familiar.

An entirely new hangout was digitally created with a Gatsby-sized guest list, grand fireworks and overall glamorous party atmosphere. Facebook (or thefacebook.com) gained in popularity while subconsciously entering into the psyche of college students everywhere. It became a function of life. Before or after class, you checked Facebook. Nearly a decade later though, twenty-somethings are searching for and accepting résumés for the newest “social space.”

While Facebook is still relevant and useful, the next “big thing” should be getting packaged and preparing for delivery to the public within a year or so. It’s time. Literally.

The recent scandal and revelations about the NSA and IRS should have an effect on the digital generation/Millennials and prompt a new space to emerge that is less adept and capable at tracking and collecting valuable information. Unfortunately, we may all live in a world that is irreversibly “on the grid.” As a result, one of the goals should be to limit the reach of this “grid” and reveal as little as possible while still living life fluidly.

Say there is an event being held somewhere (like at a theater downtown, a restaurant, a wine and cheese bar, etc.) and the organizers want to advertise this happening. What if there was a readily-available and easily operated application whose sole purpose was to 1. spread news quickly far and wide and 2. tally the number of people attending.

No personal profile. No personal pictures. No personal information.

Instead, any personal information would be divulged at your discretion. For example, any limited disclosure of personal information would result from an interesting conversation you have with someone from across the room who struck your fancy. Maybe you showed him or her a funny picture from your phone. Perhaps you tell them you finished a major paper and are out celebrating.

It’s up to you.

The App will be called, “RSVP.”

This App is meant to encourage a gathering of people for social events, sometimes spur of the moment celebrations (by sponsored, well-known and trusted organizations). Could be an “underground” concert at a popular concert hall/room, an after-hours wine and cheese tasting at a chic wine bar, a themed outdoor party (ie-“The Great Gatsby”), a special art gallery reveal or a viewing party with a major projection screen showing the game(s) during a prominent soccer tournament with mini-fields to play on with friends and fellow event-goers. These are only a few examples.

Unlike previous social media, the social interactions with “RSVP” are made in-person and information is revealed at each person’s pleasing. No secret digital monitoring or information gathering. There are other App’s with this premise in mind, except they are much more extravagant and include significantly more information than I’m proposing. For my App, the organizers, not the participants, would post any relevant pictures or information.

Here’s how it works: Participant X buys the App and when an App-approved Event Organizer Y posts a new event, Person X is notified with a number that pops up next to the App.

The primary purpose of “RSVP” is to serve as a basic, yet effective, tool to spread the word to get people to a fun event.

That’s it. Just RSVP.