Two days ago, I logged onto Facebook to find almost my entire news feed inundated with numbers. I had no idea what was going on; I had to ask a friend to enlighten me. That’s when I found out that the newest Facebook craze was The Numbers Game.
According to The Huffington Post, the whole idea of this new fad is to send a number to the inbox of as many of your friends as you’d like, and in return they are to use that same number in the beginning of their status followed by what they really think about the person who sent them the number. They are to state their feelings of that person without any clues to who the person is, so it’s anonymous to anyone else viewing the status.
An example would be if I received the number 43 in my inbox from dreamy Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, I would change my status to read, “#43 You are amazing and I hope to marry you someday and help you wash your hair.” The original idea was to send a number between 1-500, but no one seems to be following the rule. I’ve seen numbers anywhere from a one digit number to six and seven digits.
Remaining innominate can be tricky for some. The instinct of some Facebookers is to give everyone the same number. Though this may seem prudent and efficient, it removes the guise of mystery which is the main aspect of the game. Most of us have different friend circles. There are the work friends, the church friends, the childhood friends and then there are relatives. However, many of these groups mesh at some point in time. If even only one group gets the same number, then everyone in that group is aware of the person using the number, therefore revealing the identity. Participants of the game should beware of the disclosure effect of issuing the same number to all friends, especially if there are matters that they would rather keep private.
This new game has taken on an exaggerated zeal and is invading status updates. For one who chooses not to partake in this craze, it can be very annoying to continuously have one’s new feed inundated by repeated posts that seem to never end. With a mass quantity of “friends” joining in on the numbers fun, an entire page of news feeds can be wiped out several times a minute by the incessant updates that seem to be uninterrupted by time.
One of my dear friends, U.S. Army soldier SSG Frederick McDuffy, who is currently deployed in Iraq, was very disinterested in the numbers game, and found it to be a game of “nothingness.” He in fact threatened to “unfriend” anyone who sends him a number, which was quite laughable. It’s easy to understand how he might find this to be a waste of time, as he’s staring into the face of war.
This is a game that has taken on a life of its own, and there is no telling when and if it will stop. I quickly became bored with it in about 12 hours, but judging by the numbers all over my news feed, the game is still going strong. In the world of Facebook, it’s one trend after the next. Once this one dissipates it will quickly be replaced by another.