Facebook Tag for Event =Pretenditation?
June 12, 2016 11:21 AM   Subscribe

My older sister tagged me and my three kids about a fundraising event she was doing. No other communication about said event. None of us responded. The day after the event she expressed she was hurt and disappointed we didn't show or rsvp.

I'm curious about the etiquette of the Facebook tag to events. I feel like it's a pretenditation, like dutifully paying back the hospitality of people you don't like by inviting them over on a weekend you know they're out of town. One of those invites where you can say you tried to reciprocate but you knew they'd turn you down.

To be clear, I'm not talking about being invited to a Facebook event, I'm specifically wondering about tagging people and considering that a genuine invite.

Is a person supposed to rsvp to an event tag?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes to Human Relations (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
What? No.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:22 AM on June 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've been logging into Facebook lately to keep track of a community event I'm hosting and I'm discovering that people invite me to events and I never even see them because they disappear after the fact and I usually log into Facebook maaaybe once a month. So I've been ignoring events for years and nobody has ever complained.
posted by aniola at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if someone tagged me on a FB event, I probably wouldn't even notice. YMMV.
posted by flug at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2016 [7 favorites]


This isn't just anybody, this is your sister. Being proven right should not be your end game here. You can apologize and also express that you had no idea a tag on a Facebook post is an invite (since it isn't).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2016 [54 favorites]


It's a real invite, but not one you're obligated to respond to. You have your own priorities and your own time, and while it's nice to be asked, there's no reason at all to feel bad about not going, and no reason for her to be offended.

Otoh ThePinkSuperhero has a good point. There's likely more going on here behind the scenes. If it were someone I know, I'd suspect I'd been set up to fail in some kind of weird subconscious emotionally blackmailly game.
posted by plep at 11:28 AM on June 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think it is a genuine invitation in the sense that you could certainly show up at the event and not be out of place. That said, I definitely don't think a "no" RSVP is necessary (a "yes" RSVP might be necessary if you were planning to attend, based on the nature of the event). In any case, getting offended seems over the top given the casual nature of the invite. In general, I think if you want a personal response from a person, you probably need to issue a more personal invitation than a Facebook tag. And certainly if it's something of such importance that there are so many emotions wrapped up in whether a specific guest attends, it should be possible to make a phone call or even shoot off a text! That said, given as it is your sister, I'm guessing there is probably more history here than one event can capture, so I'm not sure you can just look at this one thing in isolation.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


You did nothing wrong. We're all inundated by Facebook event invites -- everything from Mary Kay parties held by that girl you barely knew in high school to the opening night of the new exhibition at the art museum. I've tuned them out, and I figure if something is really important I'll at least get an official Evite or text from the person holding the event.
posted by Ostara at 11:42 AM on June 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think there are two issues mixed together, here: the question of the invitation style, and the question of whether you want to go to an event like this at all.

She might be a little embarrassed to invite you ("hey, come give money to this cause I like"), and thus invited you in a sort of dumb way because the indirectness made it less embarrassing. You might have used the "pretenditation" excuse to duck out of an event you didn't want to attend anyway.

If you never would have wanted to go, I wouldn't talk about the "pretenditation," because it's a bit of a red herring. I'd say "Sorry we didn't RSVP. It is a bad year for us to go to fundraisers. We love you and are proud of your work with Dogs for the Deaf. Let's hang out soon -- maybe enchiladas Friday?"

If you WOULD have gone if she'd invited you differently, then "Sorry we didn't RSVP. I saw the FB tag but was in the middle of stuff and didn't think about it as clearly as I wish I had. Call me or text me next year and I'll totally be there. etc., etc"
posted by hungrytiger at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, your wording makes it unclear whether it was an event she was participating in (i.e. "walking in Komen walk") or an event she was throwing ("dinner at my house to benefit nearby charity"). If the latter, I'd say you definitely should have given an RSVP, even if her invitation style sucked.
posted by hungrytiger at 12:00 PM on June 12, 2016


It's about the weakest, most passive form of invite, but it is an invite. I would just say "Oh, I thought it was just another Facebook poke. I never pay attention to those."
posted by rhizome at 12:01 PM on June 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


If she wanted to invite you, picking up the phone or sending a text or email were still viable choices. Tagging on Facebook is about raising general awareness, and is not a direct invitation.

If she was keen on having you there, she should have reached out. Her disappointment is surprising, given that she did not make any effort to invite you, nor did she confirm whether you were coming to her event.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:10 PM on June 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


The day after the event she expressed she was hurt and disappointed we didn't show or rsvp.

How did she express this? By tagging you on a FB post again? Or did she magically find her communication skills the day after?

You didn't do anything wrong. Facebook isn't (and I think, shouldn't be) the sole means of communication, especially between family members. I have my wall set to require approval from me before any outside 'tags' show up on it. I often forget for days to weeks when somebody's tagged me in something to go 'review' it for approval. None of my friends have been hurt by this, as far as I can tell.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:22 PM on June 12, 2016 [10 favorites]


"Oh no, what a huge misunderstanding! We are sorry that we missed your event -- I can tell it is important to you, and you know how much I support your work with the Foundation for Good Stuff. Can I still write a check?"

If you find yourself always the one sucking this kind of thing up, then have another convo, but she was probably embarrassed at the low turnout of her event and it's relatively low-cost to just apologize for the misunderstanding and reassure her that you care.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


You absolutely did nothing wrong. If you think your sister's feelings are actually hurt, then (even though she's wrong to expect this) let her know you're sorry you missed her event and that for the future, a FB tag isn't a reliable way to reach you about scheduling. If you care about her cause, then it would be lovely to send her a little check for it. If not, that's ok too.

I get tagged to all kinds of random things. I take it as a "this is happening, come if you want" notification, not a specific invitation that requires an RSVP.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:31 PM on June 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


To clarify this was an event she was participating in like a 5k for rabies awareness (The Office reference).
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 1:31 PM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, a lot of FB activity is looking for praise and validation. I'm guessing it's the radio silence (you didn't comment to tell her how awesome she is for running the race?) that offended her, and less an actual expectation that you would show up to watch her run.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2016


Most of the time an invitation to a fundraising run like that on Facebook is really more just a way to ask people to contribute to support the case. So I definitely wouldn't blame you for not showing up to the race if no further detail was given.

My question is whether you were ignoring the tag because you thought it was rude, or whether you saw the tag and just didn't want to participate (since it sounds like it wasn't the case that you missed the tag). I personally feel that if someone you care about is doing an event for a good cause then it's nice to contribute at least a token amount to the campaign. If you did not want to support the event then I would have told a white lie and say I did not see the tag, whereas if that is not the case I would suggest giving a brief apology, telling her that if she gives you better advance notice next time you'll be sure to show up, and giving a donation to the campaign post facto would be a more than adequate response.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:24 PM on June 12, 2016


I think of a FB tag as a plea to be noticed by the tagee specifically, whereas I assume a Facebook event invite went out to all 900 of their friends.
posted by salvia at 4:01 PM on June 12, 2016


It goes like this:

Hey Sis, I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding about the event. I had no idea a Facebook tag was construed as an invitation, and I've never treated it that way and neither have my kids. In my world, my response to a cause, charity, or event is pretty much mirrored to the passion of the person who invites me. An enthusiastic conversation about your cause and participation will probably get an enthusiastic response from me and my kids. To me, a tag on Facebook requires me to expend just about that much energy on my response. Evidently my kids inherited my feelings about this, ha! Sorry again!
posted by raisingsand at 4:23 PM on June 12, 2016


I don't think a tag is in any way an invitation. All it does is alert you to whatever it is attached to, as in, now you're aware your sister is attending an event. Great...so what? It wasn't important enough for her to explain to you what was going on and formally invite you but WAS important enough (and as mentioned above, she somehow discovered communication skills) after the fact to give you a massive guilt trip. Don't buy into it.

For everyone saying, well, she deserves an apology, she's your sister - you're HER sister, aren't you worth at least a ten second sms inviting you to her event? When she learns manners and communication skills instead of lazy FB tags, maybe people will start attending her events. It's not worth being passive aggressive or nasty about, but I sure wouldn't fall over myself to apologise either. Facebook. Gah.
posted by Jubey at 5:56 PM on June 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


"It goes like this:

Hey Sis, I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding about the event. I had no idea a Facebook tag was construed as an invitation, and I've never treated it that way and neither have my kids. In my world, my response to a cause, charity, or event is pretty much mirrored to the passion of the person who invites me. An enthusiastic conversation about your cause and participation will probably get an enthusiastic response from me and my kids. To me, a tag on Facebook requires me to expend just about that much energy on my response. Evidently my kids inherited my feelings about this, ha! Sorry again!"


I would only take this approach if, for some reason, you were looking to make your sister even more upset.
posted by joelhunt at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, you don't have to give your whole life story as a reason why you didn't interpret the invitation.
posted by rhizome at 12:00 PM on June 13, 2016


I could see if she invited you to RSVP to the event, because at least an invitation gives you the option to mark "Interested" or "Can't Go" or something. Sharing an event and tagging you in it? That reads to me like "hey, look at this!" not "hey, GO to this!"

Your sister really dropped the ball here by a) not actually INVITING you to the event on Facebook and b) not giving you a text or a heads up to let you know that it wasn't just some other Facebook invite, but that she really wanted you to be there. But I also agree that unless this is part of an awful communication trend, it's probably easier just to apologize for the misunderstanding and let her know you'd be happy to go to future events of hers (if you actually WOULD be happy to go), but she should shoot you a follow up text or something so you know it's not just any old Facebook invite.
posted by helloimjennsco at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chiming in late, but I agree with helloimjennsco, seawallrunner, and others upthread. In my circle of friends and elsewhere that I've seen, tagging is typically an FYI, not an actual invitation requiring an RSVP. For fundraising events, it's often a heads-up in case you're feeling motivated to donate. She can feel hurt that you weren't there -- her feelings are her own -- but that doesn't mean that you hurt her. A little bit of passive voice would be a kindness here: "I'm sorry there was a misunderstanding, but tagging us on Facebook is just not a good way to invite us to an event, we had no idea, please just email/text/whatever directly next time."

Avoid getting sucked into defensiveness, accusations, mind-reading, or arguing about who is right or wrong about the Facebooks -- people use FB conventions in all kinds of different ways.

For instance, I can think of circumstances where I've seen/used tags as an invite of a sort. Such as "Hey, [tagging several few people], do you want to go to this thing with me? Lemme know." But even then, that's a really casual invite with low presumed obligations. Usually it's a case of someone kinda wanting to go to a particular event but casting around for a pal to go along with them. Bonus: others with knowledge of the event can chime in with their opinion, and friends that you didn't know where into [thing] can pipe up to express interest.

Alternately, it's commonplace to get kinds of official invites to events from folks using FB as their de facto marketing for their band/business/side hustle (y'know, literally social networking), but most folks don't feel obligated to respond to each invitation personally. Of course, the rejoinder to that is that you're her sister and so obviously you should regard her (poorly-executed) communication as a higher priority than some high school friend doing a Vajazzling Workshop or whatever.

Comparisons are odious (and a good way to dig yourself in deeper.) Just take the cool high road.
posted by desuetude at 1:50 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older July 4th in Seattle   |   Audible trial bang for my buck Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.