We talked to Matt Kulesza, the Australian who's meeting his friend list IRL, one latte at a time
Matt Kulesza has set himself a pretty unusual goal for the next three years: he wants to go for coffee with every single one of his 1,088 Facebook friends. His Tumblr 1000+ Coffees, which documents every single latte and cappuccino he grabs with somebody, has been all over the internet as a result.
"I didn't feel like I was getting anything out of my Facebook experience except for brainless scrolling. I wanted to remind myself of why I decided to click that 'add friend' button in the first place," he told us.
So far, Kuleszas has had 31 coffees and he's not planning on stopping anytime soon. Some call it a total waste of time, while others are applauding him for trying to IRL connect with the online acquaintances we all take for granted. We decided to ask him what compels somebody to get coffee with everybody he's ever added on Facebook.
So what compelled you to get a coffee with everyone you've ever friended on Facebook?
Matt Kulesza: Looking at my 1000 plus FB friends one night I decided it was time for a major cull. Before I deleted someone I asked myself, "could I get a coffee with this person?" If the answer was no, they would be deleted. I then decided it would be an interesting humanist experiment to put into practice. I wanted to put the "social" back into my social media experience. I didn't feel like I was getting anything out of my Facebook experience except for brainless scrolling. I wanted to remind myself of why I decided to click that "add friend" button in the first place and reconnect with people I had accumulated as "friends" over the last seven years of using Facebook.
Presumably some of your FB friends live overseas. Are you still going to go and visit them?
Matt Kulesza: Yes. I am an obsessive person. I like competing mammoth projects. I also love traveling and can't think of a better reason to revisit places I've traveled to in the past.
Do you think it’s disappointing or sad that most of us never see the 'friends' we have online?
Matt Kulesza: Not particularly. For me, Facebook acts almost as a log of acquaintances I've met throughout my life. I'm trying to experiment with the concept of this 'log' of people that thanks to FB, stay in your life forever or until they're no longer connected to you via FB. I find it interesting to think about all of the people that my parents would have met throughout their lives, but without Facebook to meticulously keep tabs on everyone, they've all naturally dropped off. Now people that I met for a few hours drunk in a bar in Tokyo or a musician I met in Jodhpur or some dude in a backpackers hostel in Spain are potentially privvy to my every move that I care to post online.
Have you met anyone so far that you haven’t liked? Has anyone turned you down?
Matt Kulesza: So far so good. Before I started the project I wrote a status explaining what I was planning on doing and kindly suggested people who weren't interested in participating to delete me. Two or three people deleted me, which is cool, because I probably didn't like them anyway and I'm pleased they could identify they couldn't stomach a coffee with me.
How many coffees have you had so far?
Matt Kulesza: I've been going for just over one month and so far have had 31 coffees. About six per week. Before I get jumped on to "get a job", I'd like to mention that I'm a full time student, work two part time jobs, play in a band, have a girlfriend and a 'real' group of friends who I hang out with regularly. I wake up a little earlier to catch up with people and believe that pretty much anyone has the time to socialise and make time for people if they avidly decide to.