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When I first got really involved with social media, I used the event features on Linkedin and Facebook. I would create an event and then invite people to the event. Occasionally I'd get RSVPs, on Linkedin or Facebook, but no one would actually RSVP on my website, and when I contacted people there was no follow through. I suspect they mainly indicated they'd go to the event to show support. I also received occasional messages where people asked me not to put them on my list of invitations, because they said they felt they were getting spammed. And, when I considered that, I also realized that every time I got an event invitation, I also felt that I was being spammed.
The problem with inviting people to events is that when you use the invite feature for events, you are violating the number one social norm of social media: Social media is opt-in, not opt-out. By using the invite feature for events, you force people to opt-out, instead of choosing to opt-in. Consequently event invites end up becoming advertisements, which most people prefer to avoid, because they don't feel engaged.
I no longer use the invite feature. I still put events onto Linkedin and Facebook, but now treat it as more of a passive page. In fact, I've found better results by handing out flyers at events I speak at or sending an email to my e-newsletter list, because in both of those cases, people have opted in and as such my announcement of upcoming workshops isn't something they are receiving that they haven't agreed to. I also post status updates with a link to workshops, particularly on my fan-page, which helps when it comes to promoting events, but I've found that not using the invite feature has actually been a better choice than using it.
What do you think? Do you find invitations to events to be spam or useful?