Facebook Events: What Everyone Needs To Stop Doing

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Older people do it more than the young, but it’s a universal problem.

Facebook events are an interesting animal in that they only really work if people invite their friends to them. It’s how people respond that problems arise. What we’re talking about is the written RSVP.

If someone creates a dinner party and goes to the trouble of creating a Facebook event to invite a dozen friends over, then feel free to explain that the kids have the flu and you can’t find a sitter on such notice. Chances are that everyone else who would be attending cares why you aren’t there but they also don’t really need to spend the time relaying details of why you couldn’t make it.

If there are Facebook events which your friend invites you to that AREN’T theirs, like a concerts, fireworks displays, St. Patrick’s Day Parades or anything else which involves hundreds of people you don’t know, there’s no reason to write a post explaining that you’ll be out of town on business. It’s going to look like this:

Bill Smith: This is going to be the best show EVER!!! Can’t Wait!!!

Sue Bush: We had an awesome time last year. This is going to be INSANE!!!

YOU: Sorry. I’ll be in Seattle for a trade show that week. Too bad. Give me a call sometime. We should really get the kids together.

This isn’t a wedding. You not being there isn’t going to mess up the seating arrangements. You can just hit “Ignore” and move on with the rest of you life. Chances are, your friend who sent you the invite wasn’t exactly selective. You’re probably one of about 30 people they figured might have a good time out.

Part of that is because everyone knows that Facebook Event RSVPs are pretty meaningless. That’s part of why Facebook itself replaced “Maybe” with “Interested”. No one who clicked maybe ever went to anything ever. We’re not sure if anyone who’s “Interested” has ever been to anything, but they have been kept abreast of event updates, which we’re hoping was what they thought they’d be getting. Any maybe half of people who click “Going” are actually going to show up.

So treating this online invite like you’ve just received a self-addressed, stamped envelope with card that asks the name of your +1 and “Beef, Fish or Vegetarian?” is a bit of a social faux pas, like assuming that people who say “What’s goin’ on?” actually want to hear what’s happening in your life.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Social Media Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?