The "Friend In Every Country" Project
An American's goal of e-meeting someone from every country and regionEducating myself about current events in these past few months, I have been reading about lots of different countries that I never think about, some of which I’d never even heard of before. (Brunei?!) It’s humbling to read about entire nations, with histories, struggles, institutions, and important global roles, that shape millions of lives yet are completely unknown to me. Other countries are prominent in the news these days for all their drama. Some of them, like Mali and Algeria, just came into the spotlight literally this weekend. Like any interesting knowledge, it’s made me want to learn more about these countries. I thought that it would be fascinating to talk to people who live in some of these remote places for a first-hand account.
Then it occurred to me that, hey, I’m on Facebook, a global social network with a population of one billion! I probably actually could contact someone from dozens of different countries. I wonder how many countries / regions I could reach. 100? 200? Could I ever get in touch with someone from North Korea, or Libya, or Antarctica, or in long-term orbit?!
A little embarrassed by the naïve grandiosity of my idea, I nevertheless took the first step last night and cast out a line to my immediate circle of friends on Facebook. I was a little nervous about checking my messages in the evening. I was half expecting someone to ask, “What the hell, were you drunk last night?!” No, there was no joshing like that. Some of my friends had responded with recommendations (only one actual link to a profile) and questions – “Does Canada count?” “How about immigrants?” “Would you be interested in meeting someone from Africa?” “I know someone in the Philippines, but be warned, she’ll probably ask you for money!” They mentioned about ten nationalities already, and they seemed ready and able to help out. I decided to actually commit to the project. A high school classmate said that her daughter is a “Social Media major” and would be interested to hear a follow-up. So okay, here we go ... !
So far, I have only initiated one Facebook friend request, to someone in the Netherlands. (I live in the US). I welcome contacts from all other countries and regions of the globe! My stated purposes for this project are (1) to learn more about the world through the experiences of everyday people, and (2) to simply experiment with the power of networking and see how many countries I can reach. Anyone who's English-literate and interested in discussing your lifestyle and the current events of your homeland, contact me. I am educated and politically moderate, and appreciate people who can discuss deep issues with dignity. You can respond here, or at my Facebook profile, www.facebook.com/Scot.Fagerland . I will probably be creating a Google+ account soon too.
I have decided not to "count" immigrants in the US, or Americans overseas. My end goal is native-born residents living in their own countries. Of course, migrants here and abroad can be valuable networking nodes! If this project actually turns out, I'll post updates and thoughts here.