On the face of it, setting up a Facebook event is brilliant. You do minimal work – just enter the info and maybe a photo or two, put together a guest list – and hit go. Facebook – ideally, in a perfect world – sends notification out to everyone on your list, and the responses roll in. And then, closer to the date, it reminds people who were interested, so they don’t miss it.
Except for two things.
1. F*cking Facebook
2. F*cking people.
The rant about Facebook is one y’all could probably do in your sleep: they throttle signal unless you pay for something, and even when you pay, the distribution rate sucks like a NASA test wind tunnel. And half the time they’ve done a massive and unwanted re-sort of their site, so nobody can find anything when they need it, anyway. Fuck Facebook and all their technicians.
(Can I get an amen?)
But hey, the people you do get through to, they will know about the event, and they can say if they’re interested, or RSVP yes or no, so you’ve got a good idea of how many people will show up, right? It’s like eVite, except nobody has to actually check their email or go to another site!
Except people are fucking people, and probably half of the people who get your invite won’t ever click on it, and the half who do and actually do hit “interested” are using it as a “like” button rather than actual plans to attend.
Don’t fucking do that, please. If you want to say “good luck,” post “good luck.” Don’t say you’re interested when you’re pretty damn sure you aren’t.
Here’s a scenario: Writer Jones has got a new book coming out. They’ve set up a reading. They’ve got a Facebook page set up so people can know all the details, maybe see who else is coming, make plans to carpool, have dinner beforehand…. And two days beforehand, Writer Jones see that they’ve got, oh, twenty people have said they’re interested, and another ten say they are planning to attend. It’s safe, in a normal world, to assume that of the twenty, maybe half will actually show up, and 80% of the yes RSVPs will attend.
On Facebook? Don’t assume anyone “interested” is actually planning on being there. And half the people who said yes will change their response the day-of.
So there Writer Jones is, waiting for people who aren’t ever going to show up.
I’ve seen this happen for readings (mine, and others), and events I’ve set up for the winery I work for, and even for friends’ birthday parties. Events where having even a rough guesstimate of headcount is important. I have no fucking clue what makes people do this – and why it seems to be so Facebook-specific (eVites and actual email invites seem to have a more accurate rate of response). Anywhere else, you’ve committed, barring Unforeseen Events and Acts of Gods. But not on Facebook. Facebook makes assholes of us all.