Friends have been known to joke around that I probably have the most diverse set of friends on the planet. Seems when you move around and travel as much as I do, you have different opportunities to make friends. And while diversity hasn’t been an actual goal in making friends, I have to admit that occasionally the wide range of friends I have comes to mind and it makes me smile broadly. That’s what happened as I looked at my Facebook wall on my birthday (lazy so I didn’t keep track of phone calls, emails, IM conversation, Facebook messages, tweets, etc). And since I have a really good friend who is all about data, I decided to look at it by the numbers.
First, I realized I had quite a few family there and friends from various points in my life. So I decided to look at the way I first connected to people. Granted that is sort of tough cause I have some friends that fall into more than one category. The categories are alphabetical and some need a little explanation:
- Camp – I started going to church camp as a child and its a huge part of my background. Some of my dearest friends in the world are from camp. And that closeness goes on today – we had a reunion with some in May and are looking forward to another one soon. A big crowd of us got together Tuesday night to celebrate my birthday too. I even started a Facebook group years ago for the crowd to encourage our reconnecting.
- Church – That’s pretty easy. My family has been connected to the same church for generations. Some of these folks have moved all over but it’s be great to stay in touch at least online.
- College – I grouped both undergraduate and graduate school together.
- Family – Likely the easiest to understand category. 🙂
- Misc – Friends from wherever I was lucky enough to find them that didn’t fall into another category.
- Online – This is mostly the AgChat crowd but also includes some folks from blogchat or that share an interest like Memphis music.
- School – The folks I met through elementary through high school.
- Work – Includes former & current co-workers as well as members of the trade media who are friends.
So the first of the chart on geographical distribution. Let me just explain that the states are alphabetical followed by foreign countries. The list starts at what is noon (or midnight) on a clock’s face with Alabama starting there. On thie chart, there were so many categories that it couldn’t be read if all of them were labeled but I’ve labeled the one contributing a relatively large percentage to help you follow it.
I have to say, the number of people I’ve met online who took time to wish me happy birthday so I wanted to pull them out and put them in separate pie charts. And many of these friendships were formed on Twitter and have moved to Facebook as well. I had to admit I wondered about the distribution… would it still look so diverse? And while I was certainly I’ll leave it to you to look at the below.
I encourage you to give some thought to your friend and family networks. While you may not want to go through the hassle of classifying some of this info to find data on diversity, thinking through it can be interesting and valuable. I thought of several other ideas for blog posts just by looking through all of this!
These are a lot of the friendships I talk to routinely. The people who see something on TV and flag it for me or ask me a question if they hear something that doesn’t seem to sync up with what they’ve heard. And while our friendships are about other people & places, music, travel, etc, agriculture is a big part of my life and consequently part of what is shared as we go back and forth.
Memories of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parades or making pottery with family are jumbled in my head and on my blog alongside #foodthanks. When I read stories that move me on other people’s websites, I share their stories and adventures with my network and that’s where the real momentum can get going. While I have a diverse network, it’s still somewhat limited. but the networks I tie into through all of these friendships can carry real power and broaden the reach whether it is about blues musicians or cotton harvest. It’s all the tangled webs we weave and ways to share information that may be of interest.
What do you think distinguishes the friends network?