Wednesday, December 17, 2008

on Evite etiquette

I have a love/hate relationship with Evite. It is at once the most useful and most annoying social internet tool out there- it doesn't scream to the rest of the world that you are having a party and X is or is not invited, like Facebook does, but it has also developed a certain amount of its own irritating habits.

For example: Evite tells the host of the event who on their invite list has or has not viewed the invitation. Have you ever gotten an Evite, opened it, not responded because quite frankly you weren't sure if you could attend the event, and then later GOTTEN AN EMAIL from the host asking you why you hadn't responded? I have. It's annoying. I've also gotten emails from people "just checking" to make sure the Evite hadn't accidentally gone into my Trash folder, when in fact I hadn't opened them at all because I knew I didn't want to go to anything thrown by this particular person. So what do you DO if you don't want to go to something? If you don't open the Evite it shows that you did not do so, and you risk being berated by the host. If you DO open the Evite and don't respond, you risk getting the "why didn't you respond?" email, which is always going to be an awkward one to answer. And if you open it and respond "No" without having a legitimate excuse, you risk people finding out that you are lying.

Which brings us to another annoying factor of the Evite- comments in responses. The site allows you to write something when you RSVP, and the Evite culture- at least among my friends- has developed so that you are expected to write something witty. I have in the past RSVP'd to a party and gotten yet another kind of annoying follow-up email, the "you didn't write anything funny!" email. No. I didn't write anything funny. I have a hard time continually coming up with brief yet hilarious snippets to grace my RSVP's, and it's irritating that I am expected to do so just so that the host or hostess can feel like such a wonderfully witty group of people will be attending their event. This party will be so much fun! Just look at the witty repartee on the Evite!


Just today I got an Evite from a friend, and his AIM away message AND Gchat away message are both "I can tell if you've opened the Evite!" This strikes me as awfully passive agressive and makes me not want to open his Evite at all, but of course I did so and responded with a- legitimate- excuse as to why I may not be able to go. This is one that I actually would go to, if I can, but I may be on set, and I am also annoyed at the expectation that I will read the Evite.

The whole thing makes me long for the days when you'd get an invitation in the mail with a phone number to call to RSVP, and you could time your phone call so that you were reasonably sure no one would be home and you'd get an answering machine. No one to ask questions, no one to sound sad if you can't go. Just plain, old fashioned responses. Wedding invitations are even better- there's no talking involved at all! Just check a box on the card and send it back!

I realize this whole rant makes me sound awfully anti-social. This is not true. I am a lovely person, just one who dislikes particular expectations.