The gathering was to be a smashing success. More than 1.500 former students had confirmed their presence through Facebook, the platform that enabled the event by generating the phenomenon of finding long lost connections at a staggering pace. And yet, as the local paper today reports, only little more than 50 people showed up at the reunion at the park, despite the spectacular weather conditions.
So what happened? Other issues come along? Did the other 1.450 souls suddenly realized that they needed to stock for grocery or buy diapers at that precise moment? Did they won the lottery and thus were home busy packing for the Fiji? Did they took one final glance at the mirror, already holding the car keys, and thought that maybe they were too old for this sort of thing?
In some isolated situations this might have been the case (and those who have already experienced the joys of mother/fatherhood will certainly tell me that nothing is more important than guaranteeing that the stock of diapers is at an optimum level). But for the vast majority what most certainly happened is this: it’s easy, just too easy to press the button that states “I’m attending” or “Maybe I’ll attend” in that moment when the idea of a school reunion sounds so exciting. But then comes real life, the offline life, prior engagements, a second consideration, the realization that you can’t/don’t wan’t to/won’t bother to go. You’ll probably even forgot all about it after a few days.
This is not Facebook’s fault. This is the portrait of the world we live in. Some things are easy, just too damn easy, but completely meaningful. It’s just a click on a button on a moment of “online entertainment”.
Some brands/companies have already understood this. Others still have to. The fact that you boost a gazillion fans on your Facebook page may not mean that much at the end of the day. Most of them won’t be paying attention, nor will they run to your store to buy your stuff. As David Armano told some of us during his stay for the IMPACT0 conference this past June “we have to tie online actions with offline interactions” and get people to actually go do something, as Starbucks did on their Free Pastry Day action last March.
I just hope the 50 or so old schoolmates had a good time. That’s more important than hitting jackpot on the number of attendees.