Facebook numbers in status encouraging cryptic opinions


Seeing numbers on Facebook? It could mean a lot of things, depending on context. Image: Flickr/ eraphernalia_vintage / CC-BY-SA

So you’re seeing all these Facebook numbers in status messages. These numbers in status messages on Facebook are simply a way of sending semi-public, semi-private messages. Though some are saying this could be a new avenue for bullying, the so-called “Numbers Game” is mostly an avenue for fun.

Facebook numbers in status messages

The appearance of numbers followed by individual messages in Facebook status messages has left many people wondering what the heck is going on. These Facebook numbers in messages are pretty basic. The idea is that individuals private-message their friends a number, and the recipient of the message post something about that person as their status, along with the number. Variations include a person posting their first memory about someone, “what they really think” about that person or what they most wish to do with that person.

Facebook numbers in status messages an avenue for bullying?

Anti-bullying activists have raised concern over the Facebook numbers in status messages. The worry is that some users of Facebook may use the opportunity to say negative things about one another on Facebook. The reality is, though, that if “played correctly,” the game asks for comments only about those who request the comment. While this doesn’t remove all possibility of bullying, it doesn’t exactly invite it either.

Other uses for Facebook numbers in status

The “numbers game” is just the latest use for numbers in Facebook messages. In the past, numbers with no comment have been used to indicate what type of undergarments are being worn or the age individuals were during particular “firsts.” The most interesting aspect of the Facebook numbers in status messages, though, is a study of social communication and group-based context communication. In short, the Facebook numbers in messages can mean different things to different groups, depending on the context of the situation.

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