FB_FRIENDS = get Facebook friends for each FRIEND in FB_FRIENDS: get FACEBOOK SENTENCE = "ciao" SEND_MESSAGE: to: FRIEND text: SENTENCE
What happens if you write “ciao” to all your contacts?
I did it with my 1048 Facebook friends.
- You lose friends
First of all, they’re not 1048 anymore, they became 1037.
This is my first finding: 1% of my online friends decided not to be friends with me anymore, just because I wrote them “ciao”. I cannot know exactly who unfriended me, but I won’t make a drama about that.
- You spend a lot of time
What I also discovered very soon is that you cannot just write to all your contacts in once, because after a certain amount of messages you will be blocked by Facebook for about 24 hours. This means that Facebook has the power to decide if and when you can send a message to your contacts. At first it might sound unfair, but who owns the platform sets the rules, and we all accept the terms and conditions when we join the platform. Due to this little handicap, I started on November the 11st and I ended the 28th. It took more than two weeks, with an average of 55 contacted people per day.
- You get a notification overload
My action plan was pretty simple: open one chat, write “ciao” and close the chat. Then repeat this action for all the contacts. I did not want to visualize any reply until I finished the whole list of friends, so I replied back the ones who answered with a delay of two weeks.
- You can collect and analyze data
Many people felt like guinea pigs of a mysterious test.
Why did I write them “ciao”? What did I really want from them?
And, most questioned, what was I going to do after I collected their reply?
Almost everyone was curious about the results, so the following part is for the curious ones:
This is the top 7 of the most common answers:
This is the longest answer (759 characters):
And then, once in a while, things like this happened:
- You have pro forma conversations
Some replies were just common courtesy, with no interest and no curiosity at all.
This was a common pattern:
- You have interesting conversations
Unexpectedly, the most interesting conversations happened with those people that you never spoke with or even people that don’t know why they are your friends. It’s a complete new discovery and that’s why sometimes it can be so interesting and exciting. Few of these unknown friends asked me how old am I. I guess it was not simple curiosity, they were trying to create an identikit of myself in order to understand better the reason of my unexpected message.
- You review your online life
There are also personal consequences in this performance, very far from numbers and statistics.
Soon I realized that I had the chance to reflect about my online life and network of online friends:
- You look for a reason
I was surprised by the amount people that were curious about the experiment and its results. I'm pretty sure they expected something more than this. To be honest, when I started I didn’t really know what to do with the information I was going to collect. I just did it for the sake of doing it, to see what could happen to me and to the others.
But if you have ideas or you want to talk more about it, just let me know.