On Event Information – Namely on Facebook

Why yes, it’s been awhile. I have projects to update here, and stuff to talk about, but as it happens life comes up and so here we are some time after the last post with a grump. One related to the SCA, to advertising for events, and to communication thereof.

When I joined the SCA, the way one found out about events was on the Kingdom website, through Yahoo Groups, and Southwind (our monthly newsletter). Facebook existed, but by no means had the overwhelming majority of communication moved there. Now, about fifteen years later as things have changed, I find myself getting more and more frustrated with how information is disseminated about events. (I cannot speak to other kingdoms, so this is limited to my experiences here in Atenveldt. This post is also not about anything other than event listing and information associated with said events.)

Before we go further, there’s something that I think bears repeating. Endlessly.

Facebook is not designed with you in mind. You do not pay for the service, and you do not bring any form of monetary value to the company other than as a pair of eyes that can be sold. Therefore, there is no value in making the platform easier for you to use.

Let us start by saying this: not everyone uses Facebook. The reasons for this do not matter, but those who are posting events/things need to be aware that not everyone will see information pertinent to the event and so you run the very real risk of people not being aware of what’s going on. Even if an event is public, finding it on Facebook without an account can be… challenging.

For those who do use Facebook, it can still be quite hard to find information on events. Upcoming things are not always pushed to those invited/attending (unless you’re willing to pay, and even then) so it can be hard to miss the information as it comes. Additionally, Facebook’s feed moves quite quickly and depending on what platform you’re using what you see could be quite different.

With these basic issues, why keep using it? Honestly, I think that mostly it’s because it’s what people are used to. They’re used to finding events on that platform and having them accessible there. I suspect it’s also got to do with a perception amongst many that events will run themselves, and people will attend no matter what. So sharing the event information is perhaps a secondary concern.

It shouldn’t be, though. Getting the event details out to people is the most important part of making sure they attend. They let them know if the event needs anything (like prizes) or if there are any details that would necessitate changing their plans or schedules (like certain parts of an event being held on certain days). Our kingdom is small, but traveling from one end to the other can be four to five hours, and that requires logistical planning – especially when one has commitments for their job, life, etc to work around.

Now, is there a perfect way to get everything to everyone? No. There’s always going to be someone who complains about not seeing event listings, no matter the location they’re at. But we shouldn’t say ‘well, this hasn’t been used or worked properly for awhile’ and move to a service that limits access to it.

At the very least – having complete information on the Kingdom’s website means that anyone can pull it up and look at all the information they may want or need. Email has the advantage of being able to be filtered so it can be received and viewed as desired. Facebook is going to be the choice for many, so I’m not saying we abandon it entirely, merely make sure it’s used equally with other options to ensure that the information gets to everyone equally.

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