I am turning 25 in 2010, meaning that I have accumulated 25-years worth of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Being in the internet-child age group, a lot of these people are on Facebook.
Today, I came across a person I don’t know who I share seventy mutual friends with on Facebook. SEVENTY. Can you imagine how big a number that is? That’s probably more people than I met in the whole of 2009. Which started me thinking…
(ya lateef :)
How do your real-life networks reflect on your digital networks? In my 25 years of acquaintance accumulation, I have hopped from circle to circle.
My first circle was my family: my parents, my brothers, and a few cousins who are more than just distant family.
My second circle was elementary school, followed third by highschool, and these two circles mix and mingle with the first circle to form a nice fourth family friends circle (I refer to this circle as “Riyadh” in the diagrams below).
Up to this point, 95% of the first four circles of my life are based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Hello, Riyadh people.
Then I turn 18, and I move to Amman, Jordan, and join Jordan University.
My fifth circle is just that- my university friends. My close university friends were all either Saudi-Arabia raised or New-English-school bred, and with that, even my fifth circle sort of my mingles with the first half of my life.
Quickly, I decide that typical Amman people are not really my cup of Pepsi, and I wander into the World Wide Web in search of sweeter flavors. I get involved with the sixth circle, the awesome people I met online, which forms quite a solid mass in my friend plotter. I meet Hala, Lina, and Naseem, who are friends ranging from good-friends to hey-there-acquaintances. I also meet Ahmad, who I now work for (not the one in the illustration below, that’s actually Ahmed), and Ibra, who I now work with.
Through Ahmad and Syntax, my final and seventh circle of my life so far is formed, the Work Circle. Most of the people who are in this circle now are my current closest friends.
Yes. Facebook actually just allowed me enjoy a very reflective couple of hours on the very nature of my life and the people involved with my life. FREAKEH.
For those with attention spans as short as mine… fret not. I have made good use of Illustrator, probably the best software ever (after Firefox) to explain exactly what I mean:
Clear so far, right?
Now, let me explain to you the color-coded legend (yay for color coding):
Where do you belong in my 25 years of buddies? :) If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you can add me and you’ll fall in the red circle.
Finally, here’s my favorite part, representing how these social circles overlap.
As you can see, my Riyadh highschool friends are as far as could be from my current closest friends (those from work). In reality, they are just as different when it comes to personality and characteristics, likes and dislikes, and even ideologies. Less than 10 years later, I have absolutely nothing in common with 98% of my highschool and family friends from the days of Riyadh.
My family, who I’m very close to obviously, have somethig in common with almost all my friends, and the web people are also quite flexible, though far from my Riyadh friends. Even Ahmed, who lives in Riyadh, has nothing in common with the Riyadh friends.
A lot of my friends are the ones that result from online meetings, which ultimately proves that I should probably live in my parent’s attic and play World of Warcraft all day long. I’m guessing I probably wouldn’t mind :)
But okay. Enough phalsapheh (though I have to admit I enjoy phalsapheh to no end).
Does my theory of social circles apply to you?