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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to Write a Facebook Invitation

Tonight we're having a rabbi from Israel speak at our place. My wife tasked me with writing the Facebook invite -- meaning, of course, that it weighed on my head whether we'd get a good turnout or not.

chanukah party

The first step was obvious: Don't use the words "intellectually," "stimulating," "rabbi," or "lecture." (Although, come to think of it, "stimulating" on its own might lead people to show up for an entirely different type of party.) Likewise forbidden: "shiur" (the Hebrew word for "lecture"), "conversation," "discussion group," or, most dreaded of all, "Torah talk." I called it a "party," which might be misleading -- or, depending on the subject matter of the talk and whether people stick around, it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it is Hanukkah time. On the other hand: "Free food" always seems to work wonders.

So we've got the list. It's the day of the event, two and a half hours to go. And we've got our statistics in: 19 confirmed guests, 18 maybes, and 64 unanswered replies. I'm sure there must be an accurate way of tabulating how many of these 82 indefinite replies will actually pull through. While I have yet to arrive at an actually scientifically valid way of definitively answering, here's what I've got so far:

* If anyone on your list is married and has kids, put them down as "no."
* If anyone lives more than a 20-minute commute away, eliminate half of them. Eliminate two-thirds of the people who live more than a 40-minute commute away. (If you live in a place where people actually take public transit, and the public transit stinks after sunset -- meaning, anywhere but New York and the Bay Area -- just give up on anyone without a car.)
* Here, I should probably do some sort of analysis of the percentage of single guys who are coming, single-girls-who-like-guys on the "maybe" lists, and vice versa. Like: if your party right now is 65% women, and there are 15 undecided boys, anticipate on getting at least 11 of them.
* The Jew factor. How many people on your list are Jewish? How many of their names sound Jewish? Does the concept of an all- or mostly-Jewish party (er, lecture...sshhh!) excite people, or freak them out?

That's all I've got for now. Can you guys think of any other factors that might weigh in? Let me know, and I'll amend the list tomorrow...after I see how my grand theories turned out.

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