I reached the amazing round number of 200 FB friends. At this special moment I would like to take a short break from my amazing virtual life and thank my mother for bringing me into this world and my family that is responsible alone to around 30-40 of my FB friends. I can’t wait for few of my nieces and nephews to get older, married and bring children. Even with the conservative assumption of having only their spouses and kids as my new FB friends, it should give me at least 20-30 new FB friends by the year 2023 from the family side alone!
The number 200 is so nice I will have some difficulty approving new friendships in the near future. I am not sure I am ready to deal with boring numbers like 207 friends. I had a mental breakdown after I approved the 101 friend and I am not going to let it happen again. By the way, the 101 friend is not my friend anymore and I guess it just couldn’t work out since he had this ancient sin on his back of breaking the lovely 100 number.
The average number of FB friends for my age group in US is 277. That means I am 77 friends short of the average, which makes me feel like I am some kind of a psycho. I can fix it easily by sending 100 friend requests to random people. Many people approve even if they don’t know you since they think you are some guy they once had ice cream with in 3rd grade after a soccer game.
On the other hand I don’t want too many friends. How can the users with 1,327 friends take care of all their friendships? Looks impossible unless you are connected 24 hours, comment, like, share, which means you actually became slave to maintaining your friendships. How can they know if one of their friends “UNfriended” them. It is much easier to notice change from 200 to 199 than from 1,327 to 1,326. 200 is a number I can live with. Few likes here, few shares there, “Looks awesome!” comment every other day and everyone gets the feeling I care. If things will happen and I become very popular I guess I will not reject friend requests but I will probably hire someone to maintain it for me. But let’s cross this bridge later. Right now, I just want to relax and enjoy the 200 milestone.
The age group with the highest average number of friends is 18-24 and they have 649 friends. It is almost 3 times more than the average of my age group. I guess they are way friendlier than my age group. This is the love and peace age when you think that everyone that can spell your name right has also something in common with you.
But, there is some good news for people like me which have under the average number of friends. The number of friends is going down all the way from the peak of the 18-24 age group. The average number of friends for the age group 45-54 is 220. That means that even if I don’t add one more friend, I immediately become more popular on my 45th Birthday as I will be only 20 friends short of the average compared to 77 today. This makes me feel good. So I just need to wait and let the age do the work.
The group with the lowest average is 65+. They have an average of 102 friends. It makes sense. Most of their friends already died. I am also not sure if every nursing home can afford free Internet access to all the residents. There are probably only a few computer stations. Taking into consideration that the older you get, the slower you type, your ability of maintaining friendships in FB is deteriorating in the same proportion with your health.
Coming to think of it, FB was founded on 2004. Someone who is 65 years old today was 55 years old when FB was founded. 2014-2004=10, 65-10=55. I knew there was a reason I spent almost a quarter of my life solving math problems. So it is hard to make conclusions of the pattern of friend numbers in relation to the aging of the person. However, assuming the averages will not change much that means that a popular 18 years old guy/girl today with 649 friends will be left with only 102 friends when he reaches the age of 65. Now that makes me sad. The question is where all of the 547 (649-102) friends disappeared with the years. The difference is staggering even when take into consideration un-natural deaths, people who quit FB, friends stabbing you in the back, friends pressing “UnFriend” by mistake, friends who changed gender and had to create a new FB account but forgot to add you back as friend, friends that go to jail and the police erase their FB account as they suspect it is being used for illegal activities, and so on.
So where are they going, all the FB friends? Is there an alternate virtual world with a FB competitor they move to? And if they move there is it the same world? Is it called maybe “ButtBook” because they appreciate butts more than they appreciate faces? Do they also have “like”, and “post” and “share” and “comment”? Or maybe their friendship is defined differently? Maybe instead of “like” they have “love”, instead of “share” they have “I dare to share”, instead of “comment” they have “My point of view” and instead of “status” they have “this is why I have a stinking day”? And maybe, just maybe, even the other alternate universe doesn’t define their fiends as “friends” but as “people you may like or may not like that for some reason or another you or them accepted/sent a connection request sent by one of you”. So, do they have friends? Or do they need to just count the friends they have in the real world and this means going down from 1,846 friends to 7?
As the beetles sang in their song “Eleanor Rigby”
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Or translated to FB:
All the lonely people
Where do they all logon?
And if those people quit FB and social media altogether, are they still alive once they quit? If a tree falls and no one hears it, did it really make a sound? If a man has a birthday and he doesn’t get 178 happy birthdays in FB, did he really have a happy birthday? Or did he just have an average birthday? If he went on a trip to the Caribbean and didn’t post 982 pictures, was he really there? And what will he say when he come backs to work after the vacation and his co-worker will ask him “Send me a friend request in FB, I want to see the pictures from your trip”. Will you just tell him “I am not on FB” hoping a lightening will strike you and makes you disappear? If FB-less people don’t put a status “having a great time with my best friends in my favorite restaurant”, do they actually eat? Do they actually have best friends? Do they have a favorite restaurant? Does the restaurant exist? Which brings us to the ultimate question – Does one have any state of being if he is not updating it as a status on FB?
The FB loneliness of the 65+ age group still bothers me. It can be attributed as mentioned before to the sad fact of people that are dying and unfortunately leave the virtual world as well as the real world. But I think those people should not be so selfish. Take care of it and make sure their friends will not lose FB friends when they die? They can put in their will approval for a family member to continue handling their FB account and maybe even give him a few guide lines on what to like, what to post and what status to put every once and then. Dead people have status? “My first day in the grave, having lunch with a great friend who died 5 years ago, it took me some time to recognize him. I want to tell you something, one year in the grave doesn’t equal to one year on earth – the worms are making a big difference”. The benefit of keeping the friendship is priceless for the old person. First he doesn’t feel he lost a friend since his FB friends count is stable. On the same token he will not feel his day is near being all his friends are dying. He will also be able to still go into pictures of the dead friend, like, share and maybe even comment something like “Hey Sam, miss our time together. Hope you are still having fun up there! If you see George, upload a picture and tag him”
And maybe, old people are forced to leave FB even before they die, because it just becomes a source of frustration for them. Friends are not answering their messages since they died 2 days before they got it, the selfies do not look better with the age, and it looks strange that they are keeping the same profile picture for the last 25 years. Let’s face it, what are the chances you put a profile picture when you are 87 years old and you have responses like “handsome!”, “princess”, “You look so full of life”, “Looks like you get younger with the age”. If he/she will be lucky and get any comment it is probably going to be something like “Still alive? Why didn’t you reply to my message from 4 years ago? We all thought you died”, “Hey grandpa! I am planning on visiting you soon. Probably 3 years from now. We need to talk about your will. Hope the Alzheimer will not kill you by then. Last time I came you forgot my name. So, it’s John. John. John. Got it? LOL”, “When are you coming to visit? Ohh, I forgot, when can someone drive you to my place? LOL”, “Are you still taking the blue pills?”, “Who is the hot nurse behind you?”, “You look so old, I can smell you from my laptop. I am just kidding, looking great, grandpa. Well, looking not bad. LOL”
The only posts their friends are sharing with them are: “How to die happy”, “How to make the most out of your time in the nursing home”, “How to eat with a spoon without using your hand”, “how to make sure the ugly nurse will not come and give you a shot”, “how to act like you have a heart attack and scare your grand kids”, “old age and loneliness in the FB era”, and so on. Not to mention the pictures they can post where you can see their daughter holding a spoon filled with unrecognized green thing and forcing it into their mouth. Even their grandkids are older now and don’t post all the pictures with the hot girls from college that they used to enjoy so much in the past and share with all their old friends with funny comments like “This is my grandson with his girlfriend “Boobs”. So sorry, I can’t remember her name. You know, the age. LOL”
I am so excited I reached this 200 friends mile-stone that I like to use the same words used by Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous “I have a dream” speech. Well, not exactly the same words….
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all FB friendships are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of FB, the sons of FB users that are not friends today will be able send a friend request, accept a friend request and sit down together at the table of the virtual brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the age group of 65+, a group with the lowest average of FB friends, will be transformed into an oasis of friendship and love.
I have a dream that my two little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character, but by the number of FB friends they have.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in the daycare, with its vicious discrimination not allowing to open FB account before the age of 12; — one day right there in the daycare, little boys and girls will be able to join virtual hands as FB true friends.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every message shall be answered and every picture and post will be liked, every person will be tagged in a photo, and the FB enemies will become friends; “and the glory of the FB shall be revealed and all smart phones shall see it together.”
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to sleep with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of loneliness a stone of friendship. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of the real world into a beautiful symphony of virtual brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to like together, to share together, to post together, to UnFriend together, to stand up for FB freedom together, knowing that we will all have FB accounts one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of FB’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
FB ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
FB where my father’s died, FB of the number of friends pride,
From every tablet, let FB ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let FB ring from the prodigious hilltops of Mark Zuckerberg.
Let FB ring from the mighty mountains of Menlo Park, California.
Let FB ring from the News Feeds.
Let FB ring from the Friends You follow and the Friends following you.
Let FB ring from the Likes.
But not only that:
Let FB ring from Notifications.
Let FB ring from Profile Pictures.
Let FB ring from every Timeline and Status update.
From every shared post, let FB ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow FB ring, when we let it ring from every laptop and every tablet, from every smart phone and every PC, we will be able to speed up that day when all of FB’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands, become FB friends, and all human kind will be FB friends together forming a one enormous FB entity that tag together, share together, like together, think together, feel together, hate together, and love together, and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
One at last! One at last!
Thank FB Almighty, we are One at last!
DO WE WANT THAT DAY TO COME?