Tell me if this has happened to you- a friend asks why you haven’t responded to their party invite.
"I never received one" you say.
"I sent you a Facebook event invite." they respond.
You go to Facebook, and sure enough somewhere in the middle of 10-15 invites to Meetups, concerts, club parties and other “mass invite” events is the one event you care about- your buddy’s 15 person birthday invite. You never noticed it because you have conditioned yourself to think of Facebook events as spam- if an event is personal, the organizer will likely contact you anyway (because you haven’t responded).
How can Facebook events be improved? A series of simple rules to distinguish the “personal events” that you care about (like birthdays and gatherings with friends and family) from the spam:
- Size of the invitee list: most “personal” events do not feature a huge list of invitees, lets say 50 and below.
- Event organizer: how often do you interact with this person on Facebook? How many of their posts have you commented on or liked? Are you tagged in their pictures (or are they tagged in yours)? Do you exchange FB messages? Obviously the more interactions you have with the organizer the higher the odds that you care about their event.
- Invitee/Attendee list: how often do you interact with the people who have been invited and/or have responded positively to the invite? The same concept applies here as with the event organizer.
Using the rules above lets take a look at 3 events currently in my Event inbox:
1. A concert for an artist that I like being held on the other side of the country:
- Invitee Count: 2,737
- Organizer: Artist that uses a personal profile rather than a Facebook Page, so I’m friends with them
- Invitee/Attendee list: no one I interact with on Facebook
2. A local fundraiser:
- Organizer: Friend
- Invitee Count: 1,048
- Invitee/Attendee list: multiple friends, mostly other people with whom I’ve had no interactions
3. My friend’s birthday party:
- Organizer: Friend with whom I have had many FB interactions
- Invitee Count: 37
- Invitee/Attendee list: mostly people with whom I’ve had FB interactions
Using the rules above it quickly becomes apparent which Event out of the 3 I’m most likely to care about- it is the one with the fewest number of invitees, the most invitees and attendees that I interact with and an event organizer that I have many interactions with. This event should be:
- listed prominently on my dashboard, it should have its own line item
- the format should be “Invitation from [friend’s name]”
- the invitation can even be delivered to my Facebook Message inbox (not the “other” folder!) with an option to prevent Inbox delivery of future Event invites clearly visible
Using the rules above, Facebook can ignore location, event names, event subjects, etc. and drill down to the core relationships that can help predict whether or not an event will interest you.
The more relevant recommendations FB provides the more likely you are to trust it and by extension trust its ads, and in the end that’s all that matters for Facebook’s bottom line.
*This has to be fixed- during the 30 minutes it took me to write this post I received 3 “mass invite” events that I don’t care about.