Monday, March 8, 2010

Civisync answers the question, "What's Playing in Peoria?"

Despite some people's opinions to the contrary, Peoria is becoming more progressive with each passing day. At least, there are groups and individuals in the community who are attempting to make it more progressive.

One void that desperately needs to be filled is the answer to the question, "What is there to DO in this town?" I've often asked this, while in turn spending a good deal of time searching for happenings and events for myself, friends who may be in town, or my kids. Usually I peruse a variety of sites, or "portals", as some call them, like ExplorePeoria.com, or the Cue section of the Journal Star, ArtsPartners or the Peoria Convention and Visitor's Bureau website. It's kind of a pain, and more times than not I find out about an awesome art exhibit, a great kids' event or a good band in town days after it's happened.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an all-inclusive website for things to do in your community? Better yet, what if you could go to that site, log in, and create your own personal "to-do" calendar, then upload it to your computer or mobile phone?

Genius. And it's about to happen - right here in the River City.

Civisync is the brainchild of Jake Hamann, a lifelong Central Illinois resident with a creative and entrepreneurial background looking to make a difference in the community. He also runs OneFire Media Group, a freelance design company that helps small and medium sized businesses and non-profits in the areas of strategic consulting, social networking and creative services.

Jake came up with this bright idea based on the void he has observed over the past few years as a musician and as a social person trying to find things to do in the Peoria area. He felt there was a need for a service that was more user-content driven that would allow people to search, locate, and actually interact with what's going on around town.

Civisync will be the go-to place to search and create your own personal calendar of things to do in the Peoria area. Information will be divided into the categories of ARTS, TUNES, EATS, SPORTS and FLIX - with ARTS and TUNES being the first categories to be developed.

Current local websites such as those mentioned above do contain event calendars. However, none of these sites have the ability to let a user choose from events and create their own personalized event calendar. Civisync will combine all of these calendars into a centralized location where a user will be able to search and locate events, add them to their own personalized calendar and have the ability to export this list to their computer or mobile device - with ease.

So say you want to plan your weekend. You go to the Civisync website, log in, then click on the categories - ARTS, TUNES, EATS, SPORTS and FLIX. Select the event you want to add to your calendar and build your weekend from there.

Obviously, the more people that get on board, the more successful this will become. Civisync plans to offer a tiered membership, with a basic search free to consumers, and the option of more advanced fee-based services such as text alerts and unlimited calendar creation.

For providers (artists, restaurants, sporting organizations, bands etc.), Civisync will serve as a place where they can be included in a comprehensive directory that will receive high visibility and become the "go-to" place to find all this information. Again, a basic directory listing will be free, but groups and organizations can take advantage of additional services such as featured profiles, online ads, videos, photos, audio, customer reviews, etc. for a reasonable monthly fee.

In addition to the website, Jake plans to launch a complimentary print publication that will feature providers from each of the categories, but more importantly will mirror the event calendar and listings found on the website. This publication will be available for distribution throughout the community and will aim to serve as the most comprehensive entertainment publication in the Peoria area.

If that weren't ambitious enough, Jake also has dreams of opening a Civisync-themed venue that would feature local artists galleries, music and food. As the original owner of The Waterhouse on Peoria's Riverfront, his breadth of knowledge for business and his dedication to the Peoria area and its culture makes him the ideal candidate for a venture such as this.

Civisync is a win/win for businesses, organizations, restaurants, bands and any event provider in the Peoria area, but most of all, people in Peoria of ALL ages looking for things to do. Civisync's launch date is slated for sometime this spring. In the meantime, Jake has teamed up with ArtsPartners and ci|creative and formulated a survey to get input from the community for the first two categories, ARTS and TUNES. (A more general survey will follow soon.) I encourage you to participate in this survey (and enter in a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Blick Art Materials, Guitar Center or Hobby Lobby) by clicking here:

Civisync Arts Community Survey

Jake is also interested in input from the community regarding what YOU want to see in an informational website of things to do in the Peoria area. You can send any comments or suggestions to him at info@civisync.com. He also invites all Facebook aficinados to "Become a Fan" of Civisync by clicking HERE.

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