The invitations that aren't invitations

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Special Events editor Lisa Hurley cautions against sending digital invitations that are only empty gestures

Email and social media are a great way to share information--because they're broad-based, fast and cheap.

On the other hand, email and social media are a terrible way to share special information—because they're broad-based, fast and cheap.

I love getting invitations to wonderful special events, but when these invitations come via email and social media only a day or so before the event, or for an event in a city thousands of miles away on short notice, I have to wonder if the event hosts truly want me at the event. Does anyone have the luxury of an unlimited travel budget or—even more precious—a wealth of uncommitted time?

I remember visiting a convention in New Orleans many years ago. A friend was gently leading another friend—this one sweetly full of Sazerac and other powerful local potions—past some nightclubs that he was truly in no shape to appreciate.

"Yes, we could do in," she said, "but we're not going to go in."

Just because digital media makes it easy to invite the world to your event doesn't mean you should do it. Rather than making people feel as though they would be a valued guest at your event, you risk making them feel as though the invitation is just an empty gesture, and you really don't expect them to come at all.

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