I developed a Facebook app for research. It basically finds your friends of friends. Then we do some magic stuff in social network research etc. I will not go into that, the story is something else.

The app comes with a browser extension. It allows you to check profiles one at a time. It rips all the profile information from Facebook pages, and shows you. Basically you click on the three colored buttons at the bottom to continue. It looks like that.

Facebook has similar things too(“people you may know”), but you cannot move one by one to see all your friends of friends like the extension allows you to do. Also Facebook records your choices in time, and does not show you the same people.

Facebook even implemented a system to analyze social graph of users, and it deliberately hides old lovers, friends etc. The result is that, as the months/years pass, old acquaintances that you choose not to add or remove from your friends list are dropped from your Facebook interfaces, so you always see new people in the friends of friends section.

The extension does not work this way; it shows you all your friends of friends.

For the last touches of the extension before I ship it out to users, I had to test it rigorously. I checked around 500 people. It was a painful, mind-blowing process.  And I  did not actually check the remaining 6500+ people. All the people I thought I had forgotten were there. The world is small, and these people were friends of my friends. Or our mutual friends had introduced them to me at the first place. Not that it matters! The guys I hated, the girls I loved,  the girls I could have loved were all there. I had to see them all. My last 15 years flashed in front of my eyes. Literally, on my big computer screen.

When I was younger, I moved somewhere every three years. There was a new education somewhere. I quit universities and moved out. Always for the better, I thought.

But this caught on me now. Starting anew every three years, making new friends just to leave them after a couple of years, if not moths. And Facebook reminded me today of what I could have been or had, If I had stayed put.

and I will leave Italy again in 2 years. to start again. to find friends.