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Facebook – My Life in Numbers

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
14 May 2008

Following on from my little piece of number crunching when I reached 500 friends last week (I’m at 504 now – not that I’m counting…!) I decided to take it another step and see how those 500 friends split down in terms of my life – when did I first meet them? Time to find out…

The first thing I had to do was remove the people on my friends list that I’d never actually met. Whilst this brought the 504 down by 12% to 446, that does actually prove that my figure of 14% from last week was a little high. So I actually know (if I define "know" as "I have met them") 88% of my friends. This is probably down to bad categorization on my part originally – especially as a few of the people I listed as "famous" are people I do genuinely know. Anyway, back to the numbers…

So I took my entire friend list and went through every single person, noting down when I had first met them. For the majority this was fairly easy – school friends can usually be attributed to a certain year of my educational life, family mostly met me in the first year of my life (though some were in the second – I was born quite close to the end of the 70′s… well, 3 months before the end in fact!!), work friends I have records of for the most part. There were a few questionable ones, but with some background checks – old photos, digital photos, e-mails, my family etc – I was able to get a date for every single one.

What follows is the graph I was able to then create using this data. It’s quite interesting (though maybe just to me!) to see how my "Social Graph" has grown over the years – and reassuring to see that the big peaks were all fairly easily attributable to changes in my lifestyle or work situation. The two biggest jumps are when i joined University, and my second year at Tamar when I started to take on my own clients.

Facebooklife

I doubt there are many other people with the time or inclination to do the same for their own friend lists, but it would certainly be interesting to see whether I’m average or not in this respect.

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