Whenever I post something on Facebook, I wonder if anyone actually cares.
Like most people in their late twenties, my feed is now populated more by baby pictures, engagements and negative Status Updates.
I’ve got 380 web Friends. In reality I’ve got about ten close friends. All the people I want to talk to I have phone numbers for. Rarely will I get in touch via a message on Facebook.
So who are these people I’m supposedly pals with? How many of them actually care about the things I’m saying online? More to the point, how many of them would care enough to meet up for a drink to discuss old times.
I wrote a short message, individually inviting my Friends out for a drink next week. I expected a couple to agree to meet and that was about it.
Here’s what happened…
IT TOOK me just over an hour to copy and paste the following message into the inboxes of 154 of my friends.
“Alright! Haven’t spoken to you in ages! How’s it going? I’m around your neck of the woods next week if you wanna catch up for a drink?”
Once happy that the message doesn’t just look like spam or a virus, I work my way down my list of friends, which Facebook have arranged in a random order for me, and begin pasting my invite out one-by-one.
As I’m going through my Friends I notice there are people on there who have married and changed their names – I find I’m having to click on their profile to remind myself of who they are and how I even know them. And there are those who I don’t know. Random people I’ve met on a night out, I assume.
The strange mix of people I’ve added over the years makes me laugh. People from university, secondary school, primary school, ex-work colleagues and people I’ve met on my travels make up the majority – then there are a few Page3 girls, an X-Factor contestant and a world champion boxer – surely they’ll fancy a drink with me.
Although I’m randomly selecting who I send the message to, I’m careful not to send it everyone as I don’t want anyone in the same friendship group to ask if anyone else received the same message.
When I reach the bottom of my 380 Friends, after just over an hour, I’ve sent the message to 154 of them. When I began I assumed around 20 people would reply to my offer, but even by the time I’ve finished I’ve got 17 new messages waiting for me in my Inbox.
I’m actually looking forward to reading the replies, Facebook hasn’t been this much fun in years.
I set my alarm on my iPhone and go to sleep but I’m awoken three times by the Facebook push notifications bleeping away.
7am, and I look at my phone. The little red dot on the top right of my Facebook icon tells me I’ve 32 responses. I’m amazed. Not only have I got more replies than I thought I’d get, it’s still early. I’m bound to get more throughout the day.
So back to the first reply I received the night before, just three minutes after my message was received. The message comes from a friend-of-a-friend whom I met only a handful of times.
“Alright man. You’re in Toulouse? Working?”
I’m not in France but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. The next message is from an ex-colleague of mine who I’ve not seen in a few months.
“Yo yo! I know, it has been a while, but time is flying by though. All good thanks, insanely busy at work but really enjoying it. How’s work going for you? And definitely! But which neck of my woods – work neck or home neck?!
Success! She fancies as drink, I can’t wait to see what the other 29 messages have to say. They come from people I’ve not spoken to in years. One asks what I’m doing in Kent next week. Another chats to me about football (they know from following me on Twitter that I’m a Crystal Palace fan), even though we’ve only actually met twice.
One of my favourite comments is from a girl I met on holiday four years ago. Her reply to my offer of a drink is simply…
“Yeh what day? X”
This makes me smile and saddens me at the same time. She’s from Liverpool (I’m from London) and I actually WAS in her neck of the woods just two days ago, so that’s annoying.
I read through a few more and get encouraged by the amount of positive replies I’m getting. I’m already starting to worry about how much next week would cost me if I go for all these drinks.
My morning commute to work includes a 40-minute Tube journey, so my phone will go silent for the first time since I’ve woken up. I literally can’t wait to get to work so I can check who else has replied.
Five more Notifications.
This time from people I met on my travels in Thailand over a year ago. My Friend writes…
“Hey! Good to hear from u… That would be lovely! How come you are coming out here? Jerusalem?
Oh yeah, I’d forgotten I’d befriended some Israeli sisters once upon a time. One of whom sends me a friend request and chat message after previously deleting me.
It turns out I’ve got friends all around the globe.
“Hey!! No way that’s awesome! When you getting here?? We’ll definitely have to meet up for a drink!” writes a pretty Canadian girl who I’ve not spoken to in over a year. News is spreading fast as I get a message from her friend that I didn’t even message, asking when I’m in Vancouver.
For the first time since reading the replies I feel a tinge of disappointment. When I started this I didn’t actually think I wanted to meet anyone for a drink – but now I’m thinking it would be good to catch up with people.
It’s still only 9am and I’ve now got 39 replies, from people I’ve not seen or spoken to in ages. Messages have now come in from as far as France, Israel, Bulgaria, Canada, New Zealand and Italy.
Three of the messages I’ve received are from ‘friends’ who have no idea who I am.
“I’m slightly confused or just overly tired, but how do I know you again?” asks the sister of a guy I went to school with.
The two other girls who don’t recognise my name.
“Hi! God this sounds awful but whereeee do I know you from nick?! Lols”
“Hiya this is gunna sound really rude of me but where do I no u from? Lol x”
‘Good question’ I think to myself as I don’t really know where I know them from either. A drunken night out in Liquid I think, but I’m not sure. Still, at least they replied – and were honest and polite.
As the day goes on my phone lights up with more and more Facebook notifications from my online pals, most of whom sound excited at the idea of meeting up with me.
I’ve never felt more popular.
I find myself getting invited to parties which I was unaware of, but I now plan to attend, gig tickets are even offered by an old friend I used to play football with. A girl I used to work with gives me her phone number and suggests meeting on Monday night.
Another friend tells me she’s looking forward to the end of the financial year (bit dull), someone else tells me of an operation she’s had recently, in a long and friendly message. I know her from sitting next to her in a college class nine years ago.
My brother sends me a screen shot of a Whatsapp message he’s just received from a Mutual Friend of ours in which he says, “Ur brother messaged me on Facebook and said did I want to meet up for a drink with him? Weird.”
I explain the reason why to my brother and tell him not to give the game away. Alas, I don’t hear from our Mutual Friend.
The weirdness doesn’t stop there as I’m now being invited to ‘Like’ an old friend’s website she’s just set up. She doesn’t want a drink with me though funny enough.
Three more people reply with similar messages, the bizarre thought of me speaking to them makes them think I’ve accidentally messaged the wrong person…
“Hello mate. Is this message meant for me? Do we not live in the same neck of the woods!?” and “Did you send this to the wrong person nick? Lol”.
Now it’s nearly twenty four hours since I copied and pasted that message to my friends and the responses are slowing down. I’ve received 70 replies, of which 56 have agreed to meet for a drink.
Of course, there’s still the other 84 who are yet to reply.
Before I started this I was close to deleting my Facebook account as I thought it was pointless – now I’ve changed my mind. I’m more disappointed I can’t go out next week and meet all my old friends.
More than one of my friends, who I’ve not seen in years, has offered to re-arrange their shifts at work so they’ve got time to see me. An old housemate of mine has invited me for dinner and offered a place to stay at his home in France.
Yesterday I didn’t think anyone cared about what was written on Facebook – but I was wrong.
I’m yet to reply to any of the messages, as I literally don’t know where or who to begin with. One thing I am sure of is this is going to be the biggest round of drinks I’ve ever bought.
“Hey! Good to hear from u… That would b lovely! How come you are coming out here? Jerusalem?”
“Abso-bloody-lutely!!! J What are you doing in Southampton? X”
“I’m slightly confused or just overly tired, but how do I know you again.”
“You’re in Berlin? Tell me more!”
“Hi! God this sounds awful but whereeee do I know you from nick?! Lols”
“Hi mate how’s it going? All good with me, you know I moved to new Zealand?”
Not all those 70 who replied were up for a drink.
Total who were: – 56 (27 girls, 29 guys)