In her article Eviting Trouble, Meghan Daum of the LA Times laments that “the e-mail invitation service has created a whole new set of manners and conflicts over a simple RSVP.” Here are a few excerpts from her humorous, right-on-the-money analysis. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing:
Everyone loves Evite. Before this great innovation came our way, party hosts had the laborious task of writing up an e-mail announcing their events and then, gasp, typing people’s addresses in the recipient field and sending it from their own accounts. And if you think that sounds medieval, I’ve heard there was a time when people called their friends on the phone to invite them to a party or, get this, wrote invitations by hand and distributed them through the U.S. mail!
With Evite, all those hours that would have been wasted sending and answering e-mails can be spent monitoring your invitation page to see who’s viewed it and how long they’re waiting around before responding. You heard me right. Anyone who sends an Evite can know instantly who’s opened it, even if the recipient hasn’t yet checked one of the RSVP boxes. So if you’re the kind of person who hides the fact that you check your e-mail every three seconds, give yourself a big window of time before clicking an Evite link.
This brings me to the most vexing component of the technology, the new literary genre that is Evite’s response form. It’s not enough that Evite allows you to see who else has been invited to the event and whether they’re planning to attend (if you can decipher some of the screen names), it’s all but mandatory to accompany your “yes” or “no” with an extremely witty remark. These remarks turn the whole enterprise into a cutthroat game of one-upmanship.