We are hosting a district-wide Twitter challenge, and there were several requests to have a meet-up for the first night so that the newbies wouldn't have to go it alone. There are over 3,500 people on staff, and I had no idea who I might expect to show up. I did know that approximately 120 people had signed up for the challenge, and that certainly not all of them would want/need to attend the meet-up. So, instead of sending ALL of the potential attendees an actual calendar invite, I simply shared the event in an email via a published link. To make it even easier for them, I shortened the link into a Bitly so all they had to do was click or make a note to do it later. As it turned out, about 20 people showed up at the BEA office that night, and it was a blast!
I discovered this little trick while looking around the screen on one of my calendar events. I had saved it, remembered that I needed to make some changes, clicked on it again, and then just happened to glance down at the bottom of the screen and noticed that a new link had appeared:
See it?! Way down there at the bottom?? I did, too! And so I clicked on it. And a box came up. And that box had two little boxes inside it, one with an embed code, and one with a link. "Hmmm," I wondered (probably out loud). "Where does that go?" And I copied the link, opened up a new tab, and pasted that link in the Omnibox. When my event opened right up in that tab, I clicked "SAVE," and what do you know - now that event was in my calendar twice!
Well then I started to wonder. What would happen if I opened that link in a different account? I switched "People" (by clicking on my name in the top right corner of the Chrome window and clicking "SWITCH PERSON" - the RIGHT way to manage multiple users!) and logged into one of my other accounts. I pasted that link into the Omnibox there, and the same thing happened! This time, though, the event appeared in THAT calendar!
So here's the scoop. You can PUBLISH a calendar event so that other people can add that event to their calendars without you inviting them by name. Why would you want to do that? Imagine you're hosting an event for your entire district. You want people to come, but you don't want to send them all invitations (**and as a matter of fact, you CAN'T - Google won't let you! "In order to prevent spamming, Google Calendar limits the number of invitations a user can send to external guests. This limit varies depending on the action, and is usually between 100-300 guests."). In order to avoid this issue, you can simply publish the event, share (or embed) the link, and then let them add the event themselves.
A couple of words of advice: Your calendar, or at least that event, must be made public. It is possible that, if you work in an organization who believes in strong administrative controls, the ability to make your calendar public might be out of your control. Just ask your domain administrator if you are unsure.
Assuming you do have public event access, you will need to save the event in your calendar, then click back on the event to view it again before the "Publish Event" link will show. It's AAALLLLLLLLLLL the way down at the very bottom, in a teeny-tiny font, and you may even have to scroll.
Another important thing to know is that, unlike an actual calendar invitation, you will not be able to see (in your own calendar) who has added your event to their calendars. In other words, if Joe Schmo adds your event to his calendar, his name will not pop up in your calendar's guest list. What will happen, though, is that Joe will remember to attend your event because it is now in HIS calendar! If you do need some sort of RSVP, you could always attach a link to a Form that collects that information in the Description box.
On that note, do be sure to add all the details you want when first setting up your event. If you have any documents, agendas, or additional materials you want to include, just upload them as attachments so your participants will have those, too.
So if you're free next Tuesday and you'd like to come to our Twitter Challenge meet-up, just click on the link to add it to your calendar, and we'll see you there!