August 23, 2015
Leaving and returning to Facebook has really made me think about the people in my life ), community and happiness (this sounds over dramatic, it probably is. Over the next week or so I’ve a few different posts to write. I thought it might be interesting to see who I consider a friend.
NB: If we know each other in real life and you’d consider ringing me up to see if I fancy a beer, but we’re not friends on facebook, don’t read too much into that. Honest.
One of the things about completely removing your Facebook account is that if you return you have find and re-add people. When I left I had 370 friends, but rather than just work my way down an export (yes, I took one) I started adding people back by browsing a few people and using their friend lists to re-add people. I also scratched my head and searched out a few people. End result… 124 people added (there’ll be a few people I’m waiting for acceptance for, but all the same).
This led me to thinking about those 124 people and how I know them, so, I graphed it.
Unsurprisingly these 4 years led to a lot of long running strong friendships, especially with people who are of the right age to be on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if we dated, danced, studied, worked or played together, if we met at Durham, you’re in this category.
In the last 6 years or so I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be a good member of the local tech community and through it I’ve made a lot of friends, in fact, almost as many as at university. I’m only really a member of the tech community, not a faith community, a sporting one or even a local one, but I’d guess that those would produce similar results. If anything comes out of writing this post it’s that I should spend more time being a better community member.
I’m pretty social and try hard at gatherings not to just talk to people I know, and it looks like it works well for meeting people and building friendships. As much as possible I never say no to a social gathering (though I have a track record of letting work get in the way)
I thought there would be more people falling into this category but maybe overtime I’ve lost touch with a lot of the people I knew from 4 to 18. I should get back in touch with a few however, especially though 6th form we went through a lot together.
People I’ve actually worked with, not met through the tech community. I form friendships at work very easily (I called my company The Approachable Geek for a reason) so it was surprising that this category doesn’t come higher. I treat friends and acquaintances very differently however and I don’t think I let many “work friends” into my inner circle of facebook where I post much more personal things than twitter. On LinkedIn I only add people who I’ve actually work with or for, and there I have 357 connections.
Did I meet you through somebody who was already a friend because you’re their partner/best chum/etc? Then this is the group I put you in. Really I should do more to get to know the friends of my friends, invariably they’re people I get on with. Occasionally, specifically when I’m visiting another city, I declare “Pub Office Hours” and invite anybody who knows me (through FB and Twitter). I love it when a bunch of people who don’t know each other but do know me get on. I wish some of my friends would do the same now I think about it.
So we didn’t end up together but we got on pretty well, we should stay in touch. There are actually a couple of exs on my FB list but all ended up in the Uni group. I added this category of friends because, I believe, as English dating habits evolve towards a much more American view of dating I think people will find that there are a bunch of friends in their lives whom they met whist looking for “the one”.
I don’t really add family on FB.
This was all very interesting, especially that a 4 year period at university was so formative and produced so many long running friendships, but it’s also not amazingly incisive. What might be really interesting, and that I’ve not dared do yet, is to put a numerical value on each friendship and then see what the results of that pivot table look like. This sounds pretty mercinary but I attended a brilliant session at Thinking Digital 2015 where one of the techniques was “relationship mapping” and the little bit I did at the time was very interesting, so many there’s something for another day.comments powered by Disqus