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How We Are Killing Facebook

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.” – Helen Keller

(You KNOW this post has to be epic, I started it off with a Helen Keller quote. Shazam!)

Facebook. Half a billion people. One of the greatest things to come out of the Internet for many reasons, without it there would be so many social media consultants that would go hungry and have to go back to shilling “video email!” from 1998.

The biggest threat to Facebook and it’s success isn’t a change in format, structure or infrastructure. It’s user apathy. And more specifically when it comes to Facebook for business, event apathy.

Exhibit A

I'm gonna invite him to a facepunch party

This event invite defines all that is wrong with them. I live 2,519 miles from the event location, I’m not single and frankly a “hands-on” singles night sounds like something we should all be doing in private. (You may think I’m picking on the event organizer here. Which I am. If you don’t want to appear in my blog, don’t invite me to events like this. Easy peasey)

Many people have said to me “It’s no big deal, just reply with no, and be done!”

I say “NO” to that. The onus to stop Facebook event spam should not be on the receiver. The logic is the same that email spammers use (if you don’t want it, just delete).

More importantly, if you look closely at that event again, this is the most glaring thing:

3 “Yes”, 19 “Maybe” and 4,552 AWAITING REPLY! This screen shot is just before the event takes place, and the invite had been out there for weeks, so it’s safe to say these people weren’t replying anytime soon.

Read those numbers again.

Notice it doesn’t show the number of people who said “No” which I assume is about 400, since they most likely used a script to auto invite 5,000 “friends” to the event.

Do the math.

It’s not even the 400+ people you’ve pissed off with your untargeted invite to get 3 “yes’s”, which you’ve actually achieved the impossible with: You’ve made direct mail and cold-calling success ratios look good. It’s the 4,552 who never even saw the invite that scares the jeebus out of me.

This isn’t a freak occurrence. Most people I’ve talked to have gotten so over whelmed with Facebook invites to events like these, they’ve either stopped noticing invites or turned of notifications all together (like I have). And that is horrible.

I threw a party at BlogWorld last year. Open bar, 100+ of my fave people, fancy pants velvet rope. 45 people on the invite list never even replied and didn’t know about the event because they stopped checking them long ago. They missed an event that was targeted (only people I knew/thought were going to BlogWorld were invited) and most would have come.

And we have done this. The most social, strongest community in the history of the world, and people have turned to apathy for events. This has to stop.

We must stop:

– Inviting people to a local event that aren’t

– Creating events that aren’t actual “events” but a way to email mass people at once, regardless of reply

– Constantly emailing people who haven’t replied yet with information about your event like the person is coming

– Publicly inviting people to a private topic event (weight loss, confidence, being single). I’ve been invited to 15 different weight loss events in the past 3 months. What are you trying to say?

What can we do to make it better? Invite people to events that are a geographic and demographic match. You know, like actual real marketers do? Stop blasting it to thousands to try and land a few. Every time you do that, a baby unicorn dies. A baby unicorn.

PS – Don’t get me started on the new “groups” feature that adds you without permission and emails you every wall post until you opt-out of each group individuality. That’s for another day and Helen Keller quote.

Do you pay attention to invites? Do you get redonkulous ones? Do tell in the comments below!

  • I get hit up with these on a regular basis and I personally just ignore them. But I am agree with you. The numbers should tell people that what they are doing is lame but then again not everyone cares and understands social media. 

  • Anonymous

    Bravo Scott!  Well written, more importantly nice balls! 

    I got auto-added to a fitness group, an impassioned friends request by the group creator and Twitter-spammed all within 5 minutes a few days ago.  Had to go take a shower after deleting all remnants.

  • Katy O

    I see them on my wall but I usually ignore them. I agree, they are very annoying & I believe they still show up under my events if I select NO. I have to take an additional step to delete them from view.

  • Naoquerospammer

    I do not use facebook. I was repulsed just by the reset of my spam filter protection that e-mail servers had been developing for years.

  • I think I have a new hero.

  • Geo Love

    Yep. Over the past 2 months, as I’ve grown into social networking, I’ve watched some really lame practices. Things you would never do in any given situation outside of Facebook. The thing I really wonder about is… does anyone, other than the “Gurus” who hopped over from the net to ply their wares, making any significant money doing it? My guess. NO.

  • B Albrecht

    Also, can we stop tweeting fake questions on Twitter to anyone and everyone in an attempt to get people to respond so we can sell them something?  this is another variation of spam.  enough already, just cut it out.

  • Alosurd1

    I think this is just a lot of over-reacting.  Delete the invites or those who continue to send them to you.  Or just ignore them.  I’ve never gotten the spam type that’s described here but do get some that I’ll never be able to attend for whatever reason.  There are bigger things in the world to worry about that FB invites.

  • Itzcarolyn

    Perhaps we should all just whittle our “friends” down to the ones that really matter.    Can you really be “friends” with 5000 people?    Or even 500?  AND, if you’d like me to come to an event, I’d appreciate a personal invitation.   You don’t even have to send it via the postman…..just do a specific e-vite to my personal e-mail address—–which I’m sure you have if you are really my friend.

  • Trombone Jerry

    I’m all proud of myself and feel like some sort of panda midwife ’cause when I create invites, I painstakingly go through my friends list and only invite those whom I think really might attend . . . unfortunately, I still get numbers as lopsided as you illustrated in your article . . . so, who knows how my behavior affected the panda population?

    • Trombone Jerry

      Oh, and I do read some of the invites that I receive and actually respond to the ones that are indeed from real friends with real events that I want to attend or care enough about to communicate my regrets.  I can usually tell without much effort which ones I should and do ignore.  My biggest problem with Facebook is that it is not something I take terribly serious.  It is solely entertainment.  I have grown callous to much of it and simply ignore most of it, most of the time.  “Friends” whom I used to care about have become trolls whom I pretty much ignore or on very rare occasions, block or delete.

      By the way, I attended a webinar a little while ago that you presented and enjoyed it.  It was close to awesome . . . enough to get me here and look around . . . not enough to get me to buy your book.  It did make me want to donate money to some sort of panda conservancy program, though.

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  • I do!  It’s so annoying.  And the worst part is – I am in Taiwan! It’s right there on my flipping profile! It’s one thing for an online event, but seriously? Getting invited to events in Toronto and South Florida turns me off every single time.  Right now I have at least 6 invites that I have not opened as of writing this response. *sigh*

  • I have faith in the new generation of marketists (marketing-artists), who will use online-social-channels to create an organic relationship with folks, and not as a way to piss them off. Let’s not mess up another media, please? 

  • Deleted my Facebook profile months ago.  Not one bit of regret/remorse.  Can’t wait till it goes belly up.

  • Noone

    The biggest threat to the success of this blog may be the fact that you don’t know the difference between its and it’s.

  • Debbie Wpf

    I especially hate a repeat invite, if I didn’t respond once, I’m not going to respond to the second, third or fourth!!  I am guilty of looking once in a while and ignoring all but those I want to see.

  • Sarah

    I keep up with my invites. I don’t seem to get too many spam invites, though…

  • Krunal Vaghela

    Good articles or blog posts and it is so very helpful.

  • John Patterson

    baby unicorns ? too much “in the know”tech talk. I’m new to all this..if i get sick of unwanted spamming i just (unfriend) unsubscribe i think it’s called now.

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  • All of this is annoying. I don’t even pay attention to the invites in my feed, nor do I pay attention to people’s birthdays. My personal facebook profile has officially become strictly for business. 

  • Heathercards

    I just click decline. I don’t get alot. I hate the gamers, it’s crazy all the posts on your newsfeed “help Edna needs 4 more ear candles for her serenity spa” .

  • Lately, I’ve noticed people that follow up via private message – repeatedly – and sometimes email if you ignore their original invite. Argh! Baby unicorns *and* baby narwhals die then.

  • Heathercards

    Most events I’m invited to are local with the occasional fly 5,000 miles to. If I post event I target local people ones I would like to attend. I guess I don’t have enough friends lol. Regardless, even if it was a hand written old fashioned invite posted in the mail, people are lousy at RSVPing (but that’s nothing to do with Facebook, it’s just lousy manners). I get your point and it’s so true! It’s a big old waste of virtual paper, stamps and time (yours and theirs)

  • I’m really not a Facebook invite fan at all. Even the ones my friends send out. Without seeming old-fashioned or arrogant, I prefer to attend events I’ve spoken to real people about.

  • Andrew

    No, I do not pay attention to invites. About once a month I will go in and delete them all, but that’s it.

  • I must admit, I don’t really pay attention to invites, because it is as you say…something that usually doesn’t pertain to me. 

  • I will admit my own faults and experience with FB spam.  When I launched a website and was new to the FB and “the twitter machine” (as my daughter calls it) I thought the best way was to add a ton of people and spam the crap out of them. I had about 2000 friends and followed the max twitter would allow.  It wasn’t until my own sister-inlaw blocked me that I realized I was doing it wrong.

    So a while ago I decided this is not who I really was in person.  So I completely changed my social profile to reflect ME. I “de-friended” the people who I didn’t know and unfollowed almost everyone on twitter.  I am now down to a couple hundred FB friends and follow about 100 people I really enjoy talking with and hearing what they have to say.

    It really hit home though after seeing Scott Stratten and John Morgan speak a couple weeks ago of what engaging with people really means.

    So a big thanks to these guys.

    Sorry for the long comment.

    • Never apologize for a great comment. Thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed the talk 🙂

      •  I’m currently enjoying your book and making my business partners and employees read it next. Awesome.

  • Jen

    The most redonkulous one I’ve gotten lately was a missing persons call that was sent out as an event invite (I’d never heard of the person who was missing). Which seemed both odd and a little crass.

    Every single update on the status of the missing person was left on the event and, as a consequence, generated a notice to all gagillion of us who were “invited” to the event of this person being missing. I finally just shut off all email notices. I would have declined the invite, but who wants to be the only person who says, “nah. I’m good. Not real interested in finding him?”

  • Lee Fogel

    I get invites to stuff like this but I do monitor them and have my settings where I have to check them unless they come from a friend. It is spamming in my digital mind and it’s just useless and will make people, as you say, apathetic. And that’s a shame…once your audience loses interest you lose the entire room. FB would be wise to pay attention to that mantra.

  • I get invited to events in Hawaii. I live in Washington. Washington! If they’re going to invite me, the least they could do is pay the airfare.

  • Breanne Harris

    I’ve been working on a post about how we need more critical thinking in social media (i.e. Do you really think that by sharing a Facebook photo you’ll get a free iPad?! Really?!). I keep re-writing it because it’s turning more into a rant about the things that make me bonkers than actual critical thinking tips. This post reminded me of 2 more areas of FB that piss me off (Events and Groups).

  • Kimberly Henrie

    Scott, I love you. I love the way you communicate and you are right on. I painstakingly hand-select anyone I EVER invite to an “event” and I try to limit the number of events, so as not to overwhelm the pool of people who have been kind enough to connect with me. Treat others as you would have them treat you.

  • wcg

    Is it just me or do others feel that Facebook is kind of dead already? Of course, it’s very active but I don’t think business and marketing on Facebook is ever going to get bigger or better. The companies and organizations I “like” on Facebook are really the companies I really like and in many cases I follow them for updates on “What’s new?”. In these cases I don’t need convincing, I don’t need more marketing per se, I need to know cool info as it were. An ideal situation in my mind. Using Facebook as some kind of lead generation tool or market expansion tool is foolhardy for most companies. The results for users, in these cases, is annoyance at best. In any case, like your post and agree.

  • It’s worse when you are younger and get invites from every promoter in town to every club in town every week! I tuned them out a long time ago.

  • Yes, and don’t get me started on groups… OH DEAR lord please stop inviting me to your group to sell me your products because you claim it’s “company policy” to have a group page instead of a business page. You are spammmmmmming. Oh wait, I said don’t get me started. As for redonkulous invites? Yes… the previously mentioned prayer circles of egypt is a great one… and I have to say…I’m one of those people that gets annoyed at the invites. Think about who you are inviting and why… if I’m in Maryland and you’re in St. Louis..just because you have an online store doesn’t mean you should invite me. If you want to reach out to me as a potential customer, TALK TO ME…not invite me to irrelevant events. Somehow with social media, the idea of a relationship first is lost on so many. Oops..I spilled the beans – that’s a trade secret don’tcha know!

  • Same for me.

    It’s pretty much what happened on myspace with all those HUGE flayers posted on people’s wall from clubs ‘n stuff.

    Man that stuff kind of killed myspace.

    I guess the real problem is that what marketing is, about most of the times, is pretty much some sort of spam.

  • Andrea

    Thank you for writing this, it needed to be said. I get invites all the time and all those game requests which I hate. I wish this post would be mandatory for all social media users 🙂

  • Fiona Redding

    I do not use facebook events either and never check them.

  • I lost all faith this holiday when I was invited to a virtual “candle party” event. Meaning a person I hardly know puts me on an invite from a person I do not know at all asking me to shop at a certain time through their link via their MLM catalogue crap. I still look at invites but I have become much choosier about who I friend on Facebook. Anyone doing this is not someone I’d hang out with IRL and will become unfriended by me on Facebook too. It is unfortunate because I still use Facebook to invite friends to personal events and they often do not see it. A personal email or hey, a phone call, still goes a long way.

  • Scorellis

    Facebook? What’s that? (coincidentally, also my fb status for the day.)

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  • Shehzad

    We arent killing facebook guys, I think we are making it a huge success. It is helping us in many aspects.


  • about Facebook.
    Stop Phishing. Stop False Invites. Being Real. Being Useful.

  • Guest

    What about when your trying to market an event. I am assisting with an annual ticketed event that already has a decent Facebook page following for the size of the event. But the self proclaimed ‘guru’ has come on created a Facebook event and telling us to promote it. My problem with this strategy is that next year we are going to have to try to reactivate the people that accepted the invite in the previous year, and no way to continue to engage them through the year. Am I missing something about FB events that the guru knows and I don’t?

  • Rabiya Wikimonks

    We can stop the spam from others especially those in your friend list. This is one kind and there is also some other process, follow to know