I recently had occasion to invite coworkers and other friends to an event, enough for me to want to use a site like Evite. But I’ve always been annoyed when receiving Evite invitations at work. That is not because the link in the message from Evite is blocked by my employer – I can’t blame Evite for that. Rather, it is because none of the relevant information for the event is in the email message, so there’s no choice but to forward it to a personal email address (also blocked at work) and read it from home. Besides, a quick web search showed that Evite was old and that there were newer and better alternatives out there. So I narrowed down the alternatives to two contenders: Facebook and Socializr.
The “events” function in Facebook was easy to use and also supported the ability to invite non-friends by using their email address. The problem was that non-Facebook users would have to join Facebook in order to see the event details. So I scratched that option and decided to go with Socializr.
As expected, Socializr allows inviting people using a list of email addresses separated by commas, or by importing entries from a Gmail or other address book. But it also lets you connect to your Facebook account and invite Facebook friends. This is useful to me, because for some of my Facebook friends I either don’t have an email address, or I have reason to believe I may have an old email address. There are a couple of downsides to inviting Facebook friends. The first is that you have to click on each friend one at a time, wait for the draft Facebook message to appear on the screen, press OK to send to the recipient, and then repeating for each friend you want to invite. The second is that unlike the people invited via email, who show up on the guest list as “awaiting reply”, the Facebook friends don’t show up on your guest list until they RSVP to the event.
So both tools have worked well so far – although I would favor Facebook if inviting mostly Facebook friends, and favor Socializr if you have email addresses for most of the invitees.
(Late update: Some colleagues who have forwarded the Socializr invite from the Lotus Notes email at work to their personal Yahoo accounts lost the links to the event in the process. <sigh>)