Logo_new There was an editorial in the New York Times yesterday on etiquette written by Rand Richards Cooper.  The editorial's title was It's My Party, and You Have to Answer.  Etiquette is one of my pet peeves when people don't have any.   Obviously I am not the only one.

Cooper sent out an evite to a party and two weeks later was still politely reminding people to RSVP.  His frustration led him to start asking other people if they had the same results when throwing a party.  Do people not RSVP? 

His question, as is mine, is what is preventing people from executing on a simple social task?  Why can't people commit?  Is it being rude or is it people are too busy or is it that people don't want to commit until the last minute?  Certainly the person on the receiving end feels like they are not only getting dissed but it is extremely hard to plan an event, food and drink wise, when only 50% of the invitees RSVP and 100% show up.

I sit on the advisory board of Red Stamp which is an online site all about modern correspondence.  They are bridging the gap between social correspondence through social networking, good old fashioned snail mail invitations and the happy medium between old fashioned snail mail for those who are running late that want to print their own stuff at home.  They are trying to figure out the new world of correspondence.  Their findings continue to be interesting. 

Does anybody write a personalized thank you note anymore or just shoot someone an email?  When should you actually write a note and not shoot an email?  Do wedding invitations still have to come through the post office?  How about baby showers?  How should you correspond with people when someone has passed away, from both sides – the family left behind and the people who want to acknowledge the dead?  How about just throwing a cocktail party?  Do people react (rsvp) at a higher rate to formalized invitations that come the old fashioned way vs the ones that come through email? 

Red Stamp has an area on their site that shows what Daily Correspondence looks like in a Modern World…and how you should you use it.  Stylish Correspondence.

The greeting card/invitation world is a multi-billion dollar business.  What do you think the world of correspondence is going to look like in 5 years, 10 years or 20 years?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

My favorite part of yesterdays editorial was the last paragraph.  He espouses that friends who don't RSVP are dissing him.  I couldn't agree more.  He concludes that RSVP which means please respond in French really means Respond, Quickly or Die!   

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Comments (Archived):

  1. msuster

    Great topic. It’s very interesting to me the way the world of invitations and RSVP’s are changing. We’ve looked at the space for investments in the past because it’s such a large and dynamic market that is actually finally changing.For our annual partners’ meeting this year we used Paperless Post and loved it. I felt it was stylish enough to use as a platform to invite our investors and a more efficient way to get their RSVPs.For weddings or more formal events I really like what Cocodot is doing. They have blended online invitations (like Paperless Post) with real-world, physical invitations with original designs. The platform works like a “save the date” mechanism with a physical world delivery. Importantly once community members register online then they can use Cocodot to coordinate all of the social network aspects like, “what hotel are you staying at” and “what are you doing the night before the event?”Anyway, I plan lots of events. I’ve found the only way RSVPs works for me is through brute force. I send an initial email asking for RSVPs, a follow-up email reminding those that forgot and then a “guilt” email a week before (still using bcc) telling the final people that they’re the only people who haven’t responded. Not fun, but effective.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I know Cocodot and Paperless Post intimately…and know the entrpreneurs behind. Please spend some time on Red Stamp and let me know your thoughts.

      1. msuster

        Will do. Sorry, didn’t immediately pick up that Red Stamp was a competitor or I wouldn’t have written about the others on your site! I’ll go check it out.

    2. Erin Newkirk

      I would go a step further and say the core issue extends beyond RSVPs, it’s about all back and forth correspondence. Even though we are corresponding more than ever–Email, IM, SMS/MMS, Tweets, Fb status/wall, geo checkins, e-event invites/RSVPs…not to mention real world paper correspondence–we are completely overwhelmed by it. Bringing forth this need for a relevant ‘experience layer’ that transcends all the ways to distribute (and respond) and gets at managing back and forth correspondence within the context of the individual.While we continue to evolve our total site offering to play here, there are some very interesting things being done to bridge and tame the bleed between real world/digital world. One cool and very new application is stickybits, which we’ve employed here and makes replying the main event vs. a chore to come on all sides for sure. But one thing is certain, correspondence is a vastly changing space with serious growth. Which provides an opportunity for an all-occasion / all-format correspondence expert to step up + manage it.

      1. Gotham Gal

        You definitely said it better than I ever could. This comment is a perfect summary to the changing world of correspondence.

  2. johndodds

    Dear Mrs Wilson,Thank you for your post which I greaty enjoyed reading.I think the solution must be some sort of ostracism or punishment for those who transgress. They’d expect the same if they were rude to your face, no?Yours sincerely,J Dodds

    1. Gotham Gal

      Punishment like loading their inbox with spam?

      1. johndodds

        Since the ne’er do wells don’t seem to react to email, I think we need something more tangible. Roped off areas for those who do bother to RSVP perhaps. Or door staff telling them they’re not on the list.

        1. Gotham Gal

          That’s good.

        2. TanyaMonteiro

          very cool idea John! Big market in London for this