The Importance of Invitations in our Social World

As most friends know, I’m a stickler about invitations. I rarely arrive anywhere uninvited or assume I’m invited just because my friends are. Turns out I’m not alone, and invitations are an important social signal to connect events with physical attendance:

Plancast and other social event sharing applications are rooted in an idealistic notion that people would feel confident inviting themselves to their friends’ events if only they knew about them. But the informational need here is not only one of event details (such as what’s going to happen, when, where and with whom). People often also need to know through a personal invitation that at least one friend wants them to join.

When you have a service that helps spread personal event information but doesn’t concurrently satisfy that need, you have a situation where many people feel awkwardly aware of events to which they don’t feel welcome.

This speaks right to my passion for using technology to connect people in the “real” world. A great invitation function, or a prompt to invite friends on Facebook’s Event feature, would almost surely increase event attendance.

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