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So how do you feel about Facebook event invites.


I create Facebook events for all of my parties. I have never created a Facebook account. Usually if I do RSVP I'll just take maybe maybe always strikes me as I like you but not enough to actually come and being with you.


I wouldn't respond if I like want people to know that I'm going to the school. I won't say I'm going or not leaving a surprise. Either people quit Facebook and they don't see it. They are using Facebook but don't actually check it.


I didn't see than you have seen the invite.


Is there a way to turn that off. People say they're going like not show up. Once in a while I'll be like hey I can't come if I want to be invited to a vendor having again.


Hello and welcome to "Why Do You Push That Button". A show where Kaitlyn Tiffany and Ashley Carman, that's me. Talk about all the decisions we make with technology. You guys know the drill by now. You know today we are talking about Facebook events.


Yes surprise surprise it is 2018 and we are talking about Facebook. Would you have ever thunk it. You know got to throw bone to my good old Mom and Dad they're on Facebook Day in day out. This shows for them to even know they never listen.


My parents listen. They know Facebook.


Well great. Congrats. Well okay.


Here's the thing about Facebook. Everyone uses the events function. Like anyone I talk to is like yeah I use Facebook primarily for event.


True I would've deleted mine years ago if I wasn't afraid of not getting invited to any more birthday party.


Yeah. So the events function is a huge part of Facebook and an obvious decision you have to make when you're invited to an event is whether you're going and Facebook gives you multiple options. We're very specifically talking about private events here are not public so that you're going, what are the options again ?


The options are "going", "maybe" and "can't go".


Ok so yeah. When you receive an invite you're confronted with those three options and I think we've kind of decided here that there's two camps. Either the person who is very timely with their RSVP and picks an answer that is accurate or changes it if it changes and then there's a person who ignores the invite


Then there's the person. There's three types. There's the person who ignores it completely. There's the person who will respond in a way that is disingenuous. And sometimes it's not even malicious. My friend Sam actually No Sam. I know some great hosts into a classic SAM Sorry. It is, every Sam is so thoroughly himself that every story is a classic story. The thing with Sam is that he will RSVP yes to everything immediately whether or not he has any intention of showing up and also thinking like probably in his mind he doesn't tend to show up. But he won't actually decide until he's confronted with like do I go to this party right now or do I do something else like that's typical. I think behavior especially when events like some people do it just to throw you a bone. We have a friend Matt who RSVP "yes" even if he knows he can't go just because it will make the event look well attended to other people so they are RSVP "Yes"


That's true because that's the other thing we have mentioned is this just so we're also fragile when you look at a Facebook event you also tend to look at how many people are going, who is invited. How many have said there can't go and then you also probably make your decision weighing that ratio out.


But Kaylie and I are primarily interested in the person who opens a Facebook event looks at it maybe assesses it and then exit out and pics nothing. Because I would hope you all know that when you do that Facebook puts a little faded grey seen marker like you have seen the invite and now the person who created it knows you saw it and you didn't respond. WOW is brutal, it's mean y'all but okay Kaitlyn do you do that ?


I would say yes depending on how close I am to the person. Like if I get invited to a close friend's birthday party I immediately RSVP yes because I prioritize that if I had something else going on I'll move it. I LOVE YOU, It's your birthday ! I get invited to like maybe a brunch with some people that I kind of know, kind of don't, I see it and I'm like why'd you invite me to this. That I might leave that one on scene or I might put a maybe but I actually kind of think that a maybe is like weird. A maybe response to me is like I can't decide if I feel like going to this. It doesn't not express the ambiguity of I might have another obligation it just sounds like, meh right


I don't like it maybe either, I don't like a lukewarm response. I tend to respond, I like to respond I think I always do respond but I can tell if someone invites me to an event and I'm not really that close to them or I can't read at least part of the name of the event I just won't open it so I didn't see it I mean I saw it I didn't see it.


You're like back when we were doing the reader sees episode like people who just like look at the message preview on their lock screen and refuse to open it. Yeah yeah yeah that's me. Wow. Well I remember that not working out so well for Ingrid with her messages on her locks.


I know I know throwback. So for this episode I talked to a woman who has lived this drama.


It made me like you want to die.


Her name's Carrie. We met her on the Internet. She is very sweet. She lives in Missouri which is where I went to school as well. So we have this bond Kerry created an event for a friend.


My best friend is getting married and I am the maid of honor. You know I'm in charge of planning the bachelorette party so I thought instead of doing an annoying group text all the time I would just do like a Facebook event and everyone could comment on that kind of stuff. And she invited this woman's friends whose Carrie isn't as close with and these friends looked at her event invite which is was an intimate group. It wasn't like 400 people is like 6.


Now expecting everyone to like comment, can be like oh my gosh is down so fine, thank you for taking care of that. And for like two days I just saw they all looked at the event and like did nothing.


And Carrie was so upset about this mostly because she was just trying to be a good friend. She's the maid of honor or whatever she has to host this day. She needs to know what she needs to buy.


I probably commented like three or four times on different things throughout like two week and literally gotten nothing. I would get girls replying to me privately in a private message like "hey that sounds good", but no money would publicly even those. In front of my leather girl, no one would publicly comment like I would literally like losing my mind.


Only six of you, be accountable, I felt for Kerry I felt for her.


I feel for her too. I recently hosted my first ever bridal shower and had to corral a group of Bridesmaids and it was brutal. People don't answer your questions they ignore them. It's like now I've got to be the domineering maid of honor who's like I'm the maid of honor and I'm making all the decisions.


That's it. That's exactly what Carrie did.


I gave them a cutoff date and I was like hey this is the last day because I have all these things I want to like get the little goody bags get like matching shirts and stuff. And so I kind of need to know and finally like I either got privately message or they would say yes to the event. And that was all. So they might absolutely hate what we're doing. And I have no idea because everyone is being so crazy about it.


OK so she was like really frustrated did she have any thoughts on how Facebook could alleviate her situation.


Yeah. She had the best idea ever.


I wonder if like Facebook had something where she can or by like in a time schedule that you gave then it just automatically like uninvited them.


And I love it. I think people are to meet up. Yeah.


The thing is though I think there's a common theme throughout this podcast has been that people are wishy washy flaky baby is us included sometimes. If product designers gave us a little bit of tough love and made us make decisions I think we would all be better people. Agreed. Stop letting us off the hook. Baby sit me Facebook


So Kaitlyn you talk to someone who needs a babysitter. Oh yes I talked to Teo, Ashley's college friend [High School, we go way back] talked to Ashley's high school friend from Chicago John.


My name is Jonathan with her and she she didn't tell me ahead of time exactly what to expect. Other than that he has a reputation with Facebook events.


One thing I think I've kind of grown to be notorious for is either not responding to invites to events or maybe even though I know deep down that it's a no for me.


And he's mostly like remorseless. He's like Yeah I have this reputation I just like making up my mind when I feel like making up my mind.


The third point like I should be calm cool enough with my friend they can take. Yeah. No I'm not. I'm not going to go this thing but I tend to kind of duck out on the back stairs terrified.


No one needs to know if I'm going to show up. But in truth I'm probably not.I don't go anywhere


That's hilarious.


We even got a little personal and I asked him you know if you lived in New York if Ashley invited you to her birthday party would you roll through and he's like I think maybe a solid maybe for me leaning in "No" and I would look at is going down.


I think I was a little mean damn honestly. Well he just insulted me. Yeah I was sticking up for my girl. Just kidding. I always troll the main podcast guest so he's fine with the same thing.


Can people tell if like I see the invite now. I do it or is that like dude.


Hell yeah. Are you kidding. We really had to know that shit.


Wait. Seriously. He was like I was under the impression like I would see it but they wouldn't know that I saw and actually think Oh no I'd even noticed someone looked like a serial reputation for a certain Facebook behavior. He really doesn't know that much about Facebook. That's great.


Yeah. He even has a nickname.


My friends who called me. I think it's fair to say like on my EXPLETIVE DELETED beat it's hard for me to go and do stuff like Why do you appear.


Know it's it's like magical weird moment or something that's a bad nickname but I appreciate the effort of his friends to shame him for his shitty behavior.


Well we just put John on blast but his interview came after Kerry and we really we really identified with her. Yeah. All. Team Kerry. So now we are going to I'm very very excited about this guest because it is someone directly from Facebook from the machine itself.


My name is Aditya Koolwal.


He is a product manager at Facebook


For the last four years or so I've worked on events and more recently local discovery.


So we're going to talk to him about why Facebook has this whole "Seen" thing really why it seems like it might be ruining lives and also how they think about language on event invite. So we'll be right back.




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Okay we're back and we're here with a Aditya Koolwal, product manager at Facebook.




OK. So the time you've been on the events team how often does Facebook events change like the language on events,like I feel like when I was in college many years ago it was either going or not going. You know it's like interested going and then not sure or something. So how often are you changing that language ?


You know the language itself doesn't change very often but we do periodically make changes like when they made the "Like" button turn into those reactions and that usually motivated by some gap I suppose in how the product is like working for the way people want to use it. So the most notable change for you with Facebook events would have been, I say, three years ago is we sort of split the public event product from the private event product. So Facebook events if you kind of go back even further like if you go back to the mid 2000s the product was built for private events.


It was built for private parties stuff that you would have used like an invite for. Right. And so it kind of had the traditional you know invite, guest list, RSVP, going, maybe, not going. It had kind of all those formalism that you would have come to expect for an invitation to a private event online. And what we saw was that that was actually not working really well for public events. And you know we sort of observed this based on how people were using the product for a public event and then also just you know interviewing a lot of people that organized public events and talking them about the problems that they were seeing and then talking to people who liked going to public events but didn't feel like Facebook was a great place to learn about this thing.


And in that process we we made a few design changes or decisions I suppose on how to better serve both private and public events.


So I think to be more specific like the language that you're talking about would be like in a private event. The options are going maybe and can't go right. We're like can't go inherently has this expression of like regret or whatever of like sorry I'm sorry that I can't go. Not like I'm not going which is the option that you can do.


Yeah like the public one I think is ignore it's interested going or not going but not going is in a dropdown


Yeah language is pretty complex. There's different states in which people can be when it comes to sharing about or finding out about an event so private event you can't see that private event or know about that private event unless someone is inviting you to it. Right. Because otherwise that would be like a annoying for the person putting it on. But like anybody could see it. So the only way you can hear about it is through an invitation and in that invitation process you're given kind of the standard set of RSVP options. I didn't want to one of you alluded to the fact that it's not like going maybe not going. And instead it's can't go.


That's surely because people like people don't want to say they're not doing it feels rude. And this has been corroborated by like a bunch of research that we've done surveys you know in person research people just feel like it's you know kind of an affront to say not feel like if I if I said like hey come over to my house this weekend like I'm throwing a barbecue or like I'm having people for drinks and then you just respond on the phone you're like not knowing that wouldn't really work.


And so that language is important there right like what you would say is like Hey I'm sorry I can't go. Like even if you had no interest. And so that was just better reflecting the way people wanted to use the product like using a language that they use themselves and communicating with their friends. And you know the sort of upside of doing that is that people organizing these private events would get more declines. Right. Which is great because they don't want to be like wait are you going to come are you not going to come like they just want to know right like it's better for them to know that you're not gonna be able to make it than for them. So I have no clue. So that was helpful for the for the private event organizer as well as the responder who really just didn't want to be so literal.


Well there's also like a third type of event which is like the public event with like a personal stake you know like yeah.


Like my friend owns a bar and he'll be like he'll invite me to events and like I know you're doing this as a bar owner right. I feel like it's personal invite too.


I mean like like if you have a friend who's in a play or in a band or somebody like I'm invited to this baby's all right event which is a public event nobody baby is all right knows me but my friend who's in a band invited by me and we'll actually look to see if I RSVP.


Yeah. So it's not like all events are strictly private or strictly public. Right. Like that's that's also kind of you know not as granular as what happens in the real world where like there's a lot of you know kind of like quasi public private stuff it's like it's like a big party someone rented out a bar anyone can show up and not like anyone like just you know anyone that like might know someone that I know. Right. So similarly like sometimes for public events the organizer. Let's say it's like a band or a venue owner.


There's like a few specific people that they really want to have come and you know in that case this invite mechanism with the ignore option may not work as well for them. But that's kind of like it's just not as common. To be perfectly honest like that is more of like a rare thing than it is a thing that people are frequently doing and probably you know they really really wanted you to come. The chances are they probably just message you directly and that's that's actually what we hear from people who organize concerts like you know concerts are like a big big use case for events on Facebook and there's you know between like standard bands and then now increasingly over time my DJ sets like we talked to a lot of those people and they say themselves like if they really want someone specific to come does doesn't like share directly with them in a message thread.


So we think that direction probably serves that specific use case better. Yeah I mean you can't like you can't get a hundred percent.


Going back to what you were taught when you were talking about private events you mentioned like these event creators want an answer right. They have. That's why you invented the can't go language it's a little bit nicer they get the answer. Everyone's happy but the men's team has left behind this kind of middle grey area of the you can view the invite and the event creator will see that you've seen the invite but you still don't have to respond. And I'm wondering why you left. Why why does the seen exist as has been the source of some drama.


Oh I see. Interesting. I'm curious to hear about the drama. So yeah the seen stays on the invite. It's only available available for private events as I think you know it's not for public events. And the rationale for seen state is specifically because people who organize private events they're kind of stressed out. I don't know if he is is like organized private get togethers but it's just like a stressful thing like you are you're hosting right. He's got a lot of people that you expect to come you're not sure if they're going to come or not.


And people can be pretty lazy about responding. And what we found over time is that people who are organizing private events on Facebook felt like Facebook was not sending their invites. When I started working on events a long time ago that was one of the most common pieces of feedback that I heard about both externally as well as within the company. People are like I try to organize my private event on Facebook and no one gets my invites. And so like you you must have a bug and then we spent a lot of time like instrument thing. Every kind of like step of the you know from when them when the person like picks a person that they want to invite to like it gets sent from their phone to like our Facebook servers to like whatever process it needs to go through back down to like the push technology push notification technology to like other person so whatever. All that stuff and to end and we were not dropping invites you know they were going through it. People were like just not responding. And I think a lot of it has to do it like it might be kind of like just a new way of how people deal with invitations to things.


But if people don't feel any specific urgency to respond they just won't respond. A lot of people sort of increasingly make decisions about what they want to do literally like the day of or the afternoon or the evening. You know they're kind of looking at this as like a sea of options and for a private event organizers that's just like really tough. It makes them feel like the fidelity of the system is like really poor and every other thing that they could use gives them seen state to at least know that the thing got delivered.


So you said you wanted to hear about the drama. We can tell you about the drama a little. We interviewed a woman named Carrie who we found on the Internet and she was hosting a party I believe it was and she invited. It was like for her best fried but the best friend had like a bunch of other friends so she created this really intimate Facebook events and a bunch of the women that she invited left it on seen.


And this was extremely frustrating for her because she was like I need to order and you know like goody bags and I need to order food and I need to jam a sorry. Yeah I need to get branded everything for this party and I have no idea who is coming. So she tried sending like Facebook messages to them and her suggestion. We were like OK well what what could Facebook do to make this maybe an easier experience for you and she thinks that you guys should if someone leaves the event on seen the event should automatically uninvite them after a certain amount of time like they lost their chance and sound like you have 48 hours service out of here.


Yeah exactly yeah. So I think we I mean I think the goal there and this is you know I'm sure there will always be like cases where it didn't work out the way folks had hoped but there at least from our sort of follow up with people like you know will we bring people in all the time to kind of talk to them about their experience. What people do typically in this situation is they see that someone has seen it and then they just directly message them and say like hey can you let me know because I need to like buy pajama shorts and I need to know if I need to get five or six or seven and that usually works out for most people like just a direct follow up unless of course like they're inviting people that like really really really kind of feel like I don't even know why you invited me. Maybe those people would not be responsive to a direct reach out. But you know I think there's always like going to be cases where somebody didn't really know how to follow up with that information or like you know use it to use it to kind of like best achieve their goals.Yeah I hope I hope for a bachelorette party worked out at least.


You know the pain that comes with this like scene invite that is not respond to reminds me a lot of red receive pain right because the red receipt shows that the technology worked like you know for a fact they got it and they also read it. So it's done.


I was thinking about when he was talking about follow up messages because then it's like you also get like they could like see if you get like yes read receipt for your follow your follow up message and it's like easier to make this flaky friends I guess.


I mean yeah I think that I think was like read receipts. It's the same thing with with all of these messaging services and having read receipts. It's literally like you have the option A which is the center doesn't believe the message was sent or option B. The center is forced to confront the fact that the person that they message does not want to respond like Which one do you choose. And I think you know fine by a large. Most people are reaching out to people that will probably you know be amenable to like a follow up if they if they didn't like immediately respond.


And so you know most of these products over the course of time have elected to go with option A which is at least let the sender know that the that their technology is working and that it's not like getting dropped because if they if they don't believe that then they'll just stop using that technology. They'll just you know it'll just be like like Imagine if like I don't know you can think of like a dozen different examples where it's like you perform an action and then it just kind of goes out there and you have like literally no idea what happened. You'll probably just stop using that thing.


Yeah I've just taken to now now opening events sure because I don't want them to know that I saw it.


Yeah. And that's like I think that's probably appropriate if you didn't want to go. Like if if you're getting invasive stuff that like you really have no desire to go to then you know that that seems fine right.


Yeah. While we have you on the phone I'm just curious to settle a debate here in Facebook is it read receipts or read receipts.


I don't know. I don't I don't know that anyone ever talks about that. I think we just call.


You have read receipts for Messenger don't you.


Yeah but I think they just collect things. Yeah.


All right. The debate will live on Kaitlyn and I very much disagree on that.


Well I would vote for I don't know who I'm going to live along with here but I think it would be read receipts. What.


Is it. It's a lot to us because you said read receipts a couple minutes ago.


Really. Am Playing you. Yeah.


We were back. How we feel.


The big takeaway for me from this is now it's all making sense like you brought up read receipts earlier where we talked and how it was kind of similar in my behavior when I was ignoring that animates totally was sort of like how people react read receipts. And I think now I'm really seeing the parallels at the scene on the event in my end the red receipt and I'm going back to our old episode and I'm like Oh I know why we have this pain now.


I think the conclusion here is similar to that episode where it's like most of the anxiety that you feel around the way that people are responding to your facebook events like pertains to how much anxiety you have around like your relationship with them in the first place. Like Carrie I mean with her situation these are women that she doesn't really know. And so anything that they're doing that comes off as like cold or evasive she's like am I doing anything wrong. You know like John clearly I mean even though I do not condone his behavior he obviously feels that his relationship with his friends is like secure enough that he can behave like a douche and nothing will happen and there will be no consequences. And it seems like there haven't been that many. Yeah. Then like a little bit of a joke a little needling here I did.


I did think it was interesting how Facebook does do its research and changed the wording for can't go to make it sound a little bit nicer. Yeah like at least this might might encourage a little more and interact a little bit more.


Yeah oh the same thing. I was actually very surprised to hear why they added the scene.


And this again now thinking about it with red roses is another potential like as a sad answer to that maybe it totally makes sense that Facebook like it's not us like yeah. Our tech works.


People just didn't believe that.


Yeah. That that is a benefit though. Tech is like if I was sending you a physical letter invite you know you would chalk it up to. Well maybe you got lost in the mail. Yeah you might I believe that the U.S. Postal Service it is the only branch of government that I'm truly passionate about. Well how about ghosting another episode we've talked about where a lot of the ghosting anxiety is from what if they're dead. What if they didn't read. What if they didn't read what I sent. Yeah. Read receipts. Answer that for you. Where's I know the tech worked. And in fact they actually saw it. They just didn't answer you. Same thing with the events.


Yeah I guess they are. I guess as I requested product designers are giving us a little bit of tough love. They're like Yeah sorry honey they saw it.


Yeah and he did yeah really kind of had that outlook where he was like well we've done our research and like a lot of people will respond if they don't then. Yeah that was kind of the answer you guys like maybe you should just make some more solid friends. Yeah well that's the thing is when I make a Facebook event invite I invite. Sometimes this is changing now but in the past I've invited people who are a little bit more of the outliers in the group and they're typically the scene people and I expect that I see them like I know you're on the.


You just didn't want to say you couldn't come in it's fine and then you have your your solid crew who's like always going to say yes because they they are there for you right. I feel like we actually got a solid answer here like this is case closed solved. Yep. Boom put it in the filing cabinet yes. We're never revisiting this again.


Happy birthday.


John is not invited to my birthday party and my curse. Actually I might just do an intimate dinner this year.