At this point, I’ve contacted about 200 of my 629 Facebook friends. I looked at each person’s profile, looking for some information I didn’t know or could ask them about. Or I tried to focus on how I met the person, or if I hadn’t met the person, how we came to be Facebook friends. In any case, I tried to come up with at least one or two things I could say in a personal message. I also attached a blurb and link to my original blog post about the project as follows:
So I have this project for the holidays–really it is a sort of crusade to reach out personally to people on Facebook and make it more the kind of social outlet that it was when I first started using it. I hope to hear back from you. And if you think this is a good idea, please pass along the blog post.
Of the roughly 200 people I’ve contacted so far, I’d say about 60% have written back to me. In a lot of cases, one or two messages back and forth have been all I needed to feel like the connection was satisfied for a while. Some of these people told me they actually don’t use Facebook much, or that they really joined it for professional reasons. For folks like this, there isn’t much to talk about besides just saying hello. In other cases, conversations have continued for days–about old memories, family, friends, past and current creative activities. A lot of the connections have turned out to be very interesting and satisfying.
There are some days when I really don’t feel like doing it, or I’m pressed for time. I’m afraid that a few of my outgoing messages have been “phoned in,” especially when it was a person I didn’t actually know well. But even so, I have to say that the experiment has been more successful than I imagined it would be in the sense that more people have written back than I expected. Also, while I can’t say that the whole thing has gone “viral” I have seen that my blog post was re-posted by some people I knew and re-posted again by friends of theirs that I did NOT know. So people seem to like the idea and are passing it around.
So far so good. I’ll continue to post updates as it goes on.