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The Column

100,000 Friends
5/8/05

Four months ago, I embarked on a quest to have 100,000 friends on thefacebook.com. Now that it's completed, I'm not sure what to do. I feel a bit like Inigo Montoya at the end of The Princess Bride. Maybe there's an opening for a new Dread Pirate Roberts.

First, a brief refresher. I'm a comedian - so I started the quest partly as a joke and partly as a way to get my name out there. There's nothing better to a comedian than simultaneous laughs and publicity. The Facebook seemed the perfect way to get both. Instead I ended up with a journey filled with horror, intrigue, and a dastardly murder plot so dastardly, even the most dastardly of dastardly people couldn't come up with something this dastardly.

Okay, so what really happened was I got a whole bunch of e-mails, but the dastardly stuff sounded more dramatic.

I accomplished both my goals. It was funny in how seriously some people took what I was doing. Hopefully you've perused the hate mail section on my website by now. If you haven't yet, let me sum it up for you: a lot of stupid people have access to the internet.

Some people got offended--really offended--that I sent them an unsolicited friend request. "How dare you disturb my thousand year slumber!," they'd bellow. Of course, I'm paraphrasing.

Really, I was told I had too much time on my hands and got a whole bunch of invitations to have sex with myself. If I could have sex with myself, don't you think I'd have less time on my hands?

For the most part, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Some people checked my profile every day. Some e-mailed all their friends about what I was doing. Some even helped me confirm all the friend requests I was getting. Which all added up to one thing: I'm not the only one with too much time on my hands.

I'm kidding. What it really added up to is that human nature involves a desire to be a part of something bigger than yourself. And that's what this quest was to a lot of people. It was a large, fun way to have an ice breaker. I got hundreds of emails talking about how I was the subject of conversation at a party or on a road trip or in an e-mail. What it came down to was that people wanted to help because of the feeling of community, and because none of us has yet to figure out how to have sex with ourselves.

On the flip side, I also figured out why others hated it. Some people don't just want to be involved in something bigger - they want to be involved in something bigger that they own. And thus, the majority of people who sent me hate mail didn't hate the idea of what I was doing; they hated that I was the one to do it. So much so that there are now several dozen people on The Facebook trying to duplicate what I did.

I happened to check my friend count when I was at 99,999. So I hit reload, and sure enough, I saw it at exactly 100,000. I don't know who that 100,000th was. But thank you, whoever you are. May you live a long happy life, and eventually be flexible enough to have sex with yourself.

There were no balloons, and no band played. But I did get a nice sense of satisfaction that I did what I set out to do and I could go back to my life. Which coincidentally consists mainly of answering emails and coming up with zany quests.

I wanted to thank everyone who helped, be it actively or by simply clicking "confirm." Especially the staff of The Facebook, who let me use their product to perform a simultaneous social experiment and publicity campaign. I also want to, once again, make fun of all the people who had to ask who I am despite the caption on my picture explaining, well, who I am. For those of you that did this, I want to explain that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, since you might have missed that one, too.

I do have good news, as promised. This September, director Andrew Hevia will be screening his documentary about my quest in Tallahassee. This October, I'll be taping my first TV special in Atlanta. And later this month, I will be having a big party for all the facebookers that want to come in Los Angeles. And I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico. (I'll also be doing shows in lots of other places, but this is supposed to be an 800-word column.)

I will continue to add friends, and answer all the messages I've gotten. I also branched out. I have 4,000 friends on ConnectU and 8,000 on MySpace. But I will always have a place in my heart for the 100,000 from The Facebook. Right next to my left ventricle.

Archives
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