So I just posted a Facebook event for my belated birthday party. I had read that FB Events had surpassed Evite in usage by a wide margin. Facebook also proclaimed in the help that people who weren’t in FB could be invited and would be allowed to respond. What could go wrong?
First, the famous walled garden reared its ugly head. Yes, you can invite non-users, but their response is limited to yes/no/maybe. That’s it. I asked people to state alcohol preferences in the comments. It turns out that only FB users can write on “The Wall” for your event. Not cool. AND they can’t even specify that they’re bringing other people.
Then I noticed that the number of people who were confirmed didn’t match the list. This is because it only displays thumbnails for FB users. You have to click on a link to show both FB and non-FB attendees. And if you’re not a FB member, you can’t see the full list!
So Facebook Events treats non-FB users like second class citizens. As a host, I am embarrassed for its behavior. I strongly suggest it be avoided altogether unless all your guests are on FB. If you’re in HS or college, maybe that’s the case. But I’m too old to be in that situation.
Even if all your friends are on FB, there is another caveat: FB Events won’t send an automatic reminder. I learned about this tonight through a friend. He was invited to a party 3 weeks in advance. A few days before the party, he got an email from another invitee asking if he was still attending. As you might imagine, he and just about everyone else completely forgot about it. If they hadn’t formed an impromptu phone/email tree, most people wouldn’t have showed up.
Now I’m in the awkward position of having to create an Evite and spam my guests with another invitation. As far as I can tell, FB Events are only good for promoters who are publicizing events that are completely open to the public. For everything else, they suck.