You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies. It’s statistically impossible. According to a study done by the University of California, Berkeley, if you get to 500 million friends, you will have exactly 14,874,224 enemies. That is not counting the number of people who do not consider themselves your enemy per se, but do consider themselves among people who don’t necessarily like you. The number of people who do not like you if you get to 500 million friends is 52,089, 994. That also doesn’t take into consideration the number of people—if you get to 500 million friends—who just sort of avoid you (9,667,284), who consider themselves merely acquaintances (346, 878, 392), who have okay things to say about you but nothing overly complimentary (443, 986), whose initial instinct would be to say no if you invited them to dinner (14,172, 094), whose initial instinct would be to say no if you invited them to dinner, but would say yes because they feel bad for you (24,929), or who have never heard of you at all (6,109, 254, 041). However, all of that is moot if you are as somebody like Mark Zuckerberg (pictured), whose poor social skills, caustic personality, and overly driven attitude increases those enemy numbers three fold. So, if you get to 500 million friends and you are the creator of Facebook, you are looking at well over 40 million enemies, which, not to contradict the first part of this poster, is way more than a few. Then again, because we have never dealt with friend counts this high before, 40 million enemies may still be a few in the grand scheme of things, but that is for history to judge. Now you may be asking, if you get to 600 million friends or even 700 million friends, is it possible that some of your enemies, or the people who don’t necessarily like you, or the people who just plain avoid you, is it possible that they might switch from those classifications into the friends grouping? The answer is typically no. And here’s why: It’s very difficult to change people’s perception of you. Even if you are the nicest guy in the world and you get to 800 million friends, you will ultimately make 30 to 33 million honest-to-goodness enemies, and maybe, if you’re lucky, convert less than 3000 of those enemies into friends. Now, all that changes when you’re dealing with a Mark Zuckerberg (pictured). If trends remain the same, and it’s increasingly likely that they will, Mr. Zuckerberg will get to just about 740 million friends, which is pretty good when you think about it. Let’s give the guy some credit. However, he will only be able to convert 1,500 of an estimated 80 million enemies into friends. Now, you’re asking yourselves, what about the people who are on the borderline? It’s a great question, and here’s where it gets a little murky. If Mark Zuckerberg increases his friend-getting efforts and is able to get to 1 billion friends, this will inevitably cause many of his mere acquaintances to become what we call “Fence Friends.” These Fence Friends, noticing that Mr. Zuckerberg has reached a number as significant as 1 billion, may be so inclined to hop on the friend side of the fence. If that is the case, Mark Zuckerberg could reduce his number of enemies an upward of 20 percent. The thinking here is that even the enemies may follow the Fence Friends who have decided to become Real Friends. Now, this is all speculative because getting to 1 billion friends would be a monumental task. But even if Mr. Zuckerberg does, the original axiom still stands: you don’t get to 1 billion friends without making a few (98, 166, 432 to be specific) enemies (for a normal person, and 235, 723, 081 enemies for a Mark Zuckerberg (pictured)).
October 12, 2010
The Unedited Version of The Social Network
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