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Say I want to:

Debate/meditate/mindmap/jam sometime in the next 40 minutes on Skype with a list of fellow debaters/meditators/thinkers/musicians

But with friends or friends-of-friends, or from a group I'm in, and all despite not knowing when others might want to or will be available

Is there a web app for that? Is there a specific name for this?

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2 Answers

If you expanded your notice time-frame from 40 minutes to 1 or 2 days, then http://meetup.com would fit your requirements pretty well. It does groups and group suggestions based on location and mutual interests, you can invite friends into your group, and moderate group entries. People in your group can be automatically notified of times and dates of upcoming events, through various methods.

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Thanks for the thought, it's an interesting idea. I'd also note meetup isn't tailored to virtual groups so isn't very global - it's explicitly local so it restricts the number and diversity of people available. Because of timezones - if something is happening in the next 40 minutes say, timezones are irrelevant but with meetup it would be another thing to calculate if not local... people have to set their own calender or reminder etc... It also doesn't have as many users as say Facebook, which already has social graph, group and interest data. –  Luke Stanley Jul 28 '10 at 15:04
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Well, let's think about what the goals are here.

Since you're tying this primarily to the group, friends or friends-of-friends social graph, the first thing that comes to mind is Facebook.

You also have a real-ish time requirement, so I don't think anything like the Social Graph API would work.

I would recommend Twitter as well, but you'd need a pretty healthy chunk of followers to get enough interest, because twitter only does direct followers not frend-of-friend stuff.

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Yeah it's likely the answer application would be built on Facebook in some way because it has a well populated social graph available and interest metadata like groups and pages that would facilitate building up potentially interesting event categories. Great to interact with you Jeff, thanks very much for your post On Working Remotely (in addition to hacking on SO,meta etc)! –  Luke Stanley Jul 28 '10 at 2:43
    
If Facebook's event feature had events listed sorted socially, temporally, and by topic, with event invitation being more suggestive - it might be complete. They probably will eventually I suppose but I'd like to see this specific use case nailed ASAP to accelerate collaboration for pretty much the same reasons stackexchange et al is important. –  Luke Stanley Jul 28 '10 at 4:22
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