Talking with Facebook friends

In 2017 I had conversations with 225 Facebook friends. I’m only counting verbal conversations (face-to-face or on the phone). I am not counting text messages or other written communication. Today, Facebook says I have 1,368 friends, which means I was able to talk with about 16% of you this year.

I made 54 new Facebook friends in 2017. One friend died.

Less than half of the people I spoke with this year were people I had a conversation with in 2016, which means that many conversations involved catching up on our lives. The longest gap between conversations was 2007 to 2017. Overall, I had a great year connecting with old friends. It is incredibly comforting to know that so many of you are out there, even if we haven’t spoken in a while.

Here is a histogram of people I spoke to in 2017.

If I take a look at all of my Facebook friends, I can see some trends that hint at different stages in my life. There are sharp cliffs after high school and college. These cliffs reflect the people I saw regularly over several years until we went in separate directions. These cliffs are also visible as bumps in the chart “Conversations in 2017”.

My estimates also show that there are more people that I last spoke with in 2011 than in 2017. This is pretty remarkable given that the number of people I haven’t seen in previous years can only get smaller over time. The fact that the number of people in this category is so big is largely due to the number of people I saw regularly in college. Even if I see many of them now, there are still many more that I have not.

Here is a graph of all of my Facebook friends and the last time we spoke.

This also means that I didn’t get to talk with most of you this year. Many of you are really good friends and family that didn’t happen to cross paths in 2017. For some of you, I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we last spoke. For others that I haven’t seen in a while, this probably feels expected. In any case, please feel free to reach out, no matter how long it has been since we last spoke. I live in San Francisco and it’s always great to see visitors. I am also fortunate that I get to travel, so there’s a good chance that I’ll visit your city in the future. Let me know where I can find you and we’ll find a way to catch up.

I look forward to seeing you all in 2018 and beyond.

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