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20-40-60 Etiquette: Facebook party invites?

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: June 24, 2012


Do you have a question for 20-40-60? Email Helen at
By Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Helen Ford Wallace and Callie Gordon

QUESTION: How about email or Facebook party invitations? Is it OK to send these instead of printed invitations? I recently got a FB invite, but promptly lost it in my email and then forgot about it. It seems to me if the host really wanted me to come, he would have sent an invitation via mail. How should I handle this? Thanks.


CALLIE’S ANSWER: E-invites are much more common. Depending on the event I think an e-invite is great. Next time put it in your calendar.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: It depends on the occasion. To me, I still mentally file invitations from Facebook in a category reserved for parties that are often (but not always) more open, inclusive and casual. These are likely to be from people promoting a fun business or nonprofit event and want to spread the word that the more people who come, the merrier.

Sometimes these “invitations” get lost in the clutter that is the latest configuration of Facebook these days, and those doing the inviting probably should realize that. Although Facebook invites can be handy for certain events, not everyone is on the social media site or uses it regularly. I like email invitations through services like for certain casual events like children’s get-togethers, and they are becoming more common, too.

For parties for which an RSVP is important or affairs that are more personal or formal, I still think a printed invitation is the way to go. You can save those in your scrapbook or place them on your refrigerator as a reminder.

HELEN’S ANSWER: I still like a printed invitation. They are easy for me to keep track of and refer to since I get a lot of emails. Facebook invitations do tend to get lost in my mail, but I realize that many people are using social media in that way and I try to respond accordingly. It is also fun to see who else is invited to the event and who is coming. You could always print the invitation so that you have it handy. Your host wanted you to come or he wouldn’t have invited you, even if it was by Facebook.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Arielle Retting, digital and online editing intern for The Oklahoman this summer and recent graduate of Radford University in Radford, Va.: I think this is a dilemma that boils down to two areas: the type of occasion and the guests. First, consider the occasion for the event. I would never send out a Facebook invitation for a wedding, but I also wouldn’t go through the trouble of making and mailing invitations for a group dinner or a movie night; it’s just too much work for such an informal gathering. Next, consider your guests. If I invite someone to an event on Facebook who I know isn’t the most tech-savvy person in the world, I might want to follow up with them if I haven’t gotten an RSVP.

While some might not think Facebook is a good method for invitations, be open to it because it has its advantages. Facebook is a great collaborative tool for gatherings that aren’t set in stone. If you want to plan a potluck dinner but want to keep discussing what each of you should bring, then Facebook is the right kind of invitation because you can easily keep in contact and leave each other messages. It’s also great because if you need to change a time or location for an event you can easily alert all of the attendees.

However, the problem with online invitations is that we usually use them for more informal events, so we aren’t keeping tabs on who has responded — we just glance at the event and get a rough estimate so we can prepare from there. I’m sure your friend did want you to attend, but you might have gotten lost in the masses when he glanced at the event. Had I been in your shoes, I would have contacted the friend and mentioned that I couldn’t find the link anymore. And if Facebook invitations just aren’t working for you, tell your friend! If he wants you to be there he’ll work with you and find a better way to invite you to gatherings.

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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