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Following the Crowd with Facebook Event Read Receipts

Facebook has recently added a read-receipts feature to its events feature in order to attract more users to the feature. A read receipt is a tag that shows whether someone has viewed or seen something. For Facebook events, read receipts will show whether invited guests have viewed the event. This will definitely change the dynamics with which Facebook users viewed the event feature in the past. Facebook most likely added this feature to resolve the problem of people ignoring event invites or trying to appear as though they have not seen event invites, skewing the estimated number of attendees, a problem that I have also experienced many times as well.

Specifically, the predicted effects of the new read receipts feature ties in very well with informational and direct-benefit effects. With the new “seen” feature, guests must RSVP whether they will go or not because they can no longer remain “hidden” or oblivious to the event. After they have seen an event, because the organizer will know, guests will feel obligated to RSVP, or if they don’t, organizers can individual message guests who have seen the event but not RSVPed in order to get a response.

Because the read receipts feature forces a response, people will take the Facebook events feature more seriously because its information is more accurate. For example, if the event shows that 1000 people will attend an event, invited guests will base their decision more off of the number of attendees now than before when there was no read receipts feature because the number more accurately represents the number of attendees.

With more reliability added to the Facebook events feature, Facebook events will most likely show informational and direct-benefit effects amongst its users. Invited guests of more populated Facebook events will see that more people are actually attending event rather than saying they are going and not showing up, leading them to believe that more populated Facebook events are better than less populated ones (Informational Effects). Furthermore, for events which increase in quality with the number of guests, users will see direct benefits in attending more populated events rather than less populated ones because more guests represent a higher quality of the event. Thus, more  people will attend more populated events because they can directly benefit from the number of invited guests who said they would attend of Facebook.



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November 2015