I think I just realized something about facebook invitations:
they're not treated the same way as "real" invitations socially.
Essentially they function as notifications of events. So if I use
facebook to invite someone to a party, that tells them "this party
exists", "here's details on when and where it is", and "you would be
welcome to attend". Sort of like if they saw a poster for the
party. It's very different from me sending them an email that says
"hey; I'm having a party on 2/3; can you make it?". The email would
require a response and would probably not be ignored. A response of
"maybe" would have to be explained with an excuse ("my boss might
make me work late, so I might not be able to come") and would be
much harder socially than saying "maybe" to a facebook invite.
Backing out is also different. If I tell john that I'll be at his
party and then realize there's something I'd rather do instead, I
wouldn't just say "actually, john, I can't come". With facebook
events, though, the attendence status of each guest is under their
control, and it's quite common for people to silently move between
Some of this is the difference between mass and personal
communication. Some of this is that facebook events are often used
for things like dances where there wouldn't normally be a guest
list. But I definitely need to keep this in mind when organizing
parties: if I want people to come, I should talk to them.
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