Mass texts are phone spam. They are impersonal with the facade of inclusion. Sure, it saves time, but it wastes possibility. It’s easy, but it’s boring.
And if it’s a group text, you get even more spam from a bunch of assholes you don’t know: “Sounds like fun, but Angelica and I have her kids this weekend and we really need to stay home and watch Frozen, have a great time!” or “Cool! What should I bring?” (which starts an even longer chain) or “Who is this?” It’s like the shitty gift that keeps on giving.
If you want someone to go to your underground event, contact them individually—text, phone call, email or in person. Personalizing every invite and treating everyone like an individual is far more effective than a copy-pasted message or mass text. It shows the other person that you actually want them at your event. You are singling someone out, reaching out and telling them why you want them there.
Individual invitations are not only effective, they’re enjoyable. You get to socialize, make jokes and catch up with friends. Even if they end up not going to your show, you both get something out of it. Communicating one-on-one is fun!
Events start with the invitation—this is when you set the energy. Think about it: Wedding invitations that’re fancy want to let you know that it’s going to be fancy, a punk rock flyer with a decapitated head creates a raw mood, and in every case, a more individual, personalized invitation lets someone know that your event is something they specifically will enjoy.
You gotta step back and say, “Why am I throwing this show?” Sure, maybe you want to make a little bit of money or look cool. But the big reason, the real reason, the only reason is to bring people together. We are a social species and we have to remind ourselves that it’s okay to act like it.
The way we invite each other to events illustrates a lot about ourselves and our society as a whole. I fear that with the impersonalization of social media and the dissociation of “select all” we will forget who we are: a bunch of animals who just want to have a good time.
Ollie Collins is the founder of the theater company Monkey With a Hat On and co-founder of the cannabis farm Fire Flower. Stay tuned for more of his thoughts on The Portland Underground in the next issue of Vortex.