October 31, 2009

Facebook Group Hysteria

Facebook is a place where you can join groups to tell people about things you like and dislike, things that you want and want to avoid. But group-joining is sometimes more than that. Facebook groups sometimes seek to cause change, usually by promising some effect for some critical number of followers. Witness these real Facebook groups:

If this group Reaches 500,000 members I will name my son Batman

Think of the children!

For Every 1,000 that join this group I will donate $1 for Darfur.

It's a worthy cause (er, what was the specific charity again) but I think my clicks are worth more than a tenth of a penny!

I love JESUS! If you love JESUS join this group.

Wait - you wouldn't be exploiting people's religious beliefs just to see how many people will join your group, would you? No.

If a billion people join this group Mark is allowed to get a Labrador

I dunno, Leah. If you don't want Mark to get that Labrador, you might want to set the goal a little higher than a sixth of the world population.


As far as Internet emphasis goes, three exclamation points is not all that many; however I'm pretty sure this cause doesn't even warrant that many.

Here are some groups that have yet to be created, but they are clearly inevitable:

  • If 5 people join this group, my wife will get off the couch and get me a beer
  • For every pi people who join this group, I will donate the square root of negative one dollars to mathematics education
  • If 666 people join this group, the Lord of Darkness will trade your souls for my 15 minutes of fame on a reality TV show
  • If billions of people join this group, McDonald's will bring back the McDLT!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • If this group reaches 3,000,000 people, unicorns will be real
Posted by James at October 31, 2009 10:23 AM
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The Darfur one pisses me off -- if you believe in a cause, give as much as you can, regardless of how popular you are. If that person gets no new followers, will s/he not give a cent to the cause?

Posted by: Karen at October 31, 2009 11:54 AM

That's also my general feeling about things like this: if you're going to give, just give. There is the possibility of raising some awareness with a Facebook group, but I doubt it really generates much interest.

Involvement means more than clicking a "join" button.

Posted by: James at October 31, 2009 2:01 PM

It also points somewhat to the credulity of people. "If 1 million join this group, Facebook promises to change back to the old feed!" Seems unlikely, but because it says it on the screen, people just click and believe.

Posted by: briwei at November 2, 2009 12:11 PM

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