Thursday, July 16, 2009

The 5,000 friend limit and what that means for this project

Not long ago, I was made aware that Facebook has a limit (the engineers call it a scaling limitation) on the amount of “friends” a Facebook user can have. The limit is 5,000. We at Matt Held Studios have been racking our brains on how best to work around this as my friend list is nearing 5,000 and have yet to come up with a clear, concise way to deal with the issue. I wanted to let you know that while we want to be as inclusive as possible to people interested in participating in this project, I need as much free time in the studio as I can get. Being bogged down with administrative work will only slow the progress of the project and I’d like to avoid that as much as possible.

The way this project is set up is a) you join the group b) you add me as a friend. Once you’ve done those two things, I go through profiles of those “friends” whose default photo intrigues me to look further into your profile photo album. Then, a few more things happen a) I add the chosen photo to the queue and b) contact you when I am ready to start the piece c) post an image of the completed photo to the group page and d) email the subject their respective jpeg. Being my “friend” is key to access your images and allows me to choose the image. I do not want to give this part of the process up.

I have two possible solutions to the issue:

1. People continue to join the group page as desired but start being more selective as to who I add as my friends based on their default image. This would also mean going through existing “friends” and deleting those who do not have photos fitting within the parameters of this particular project - i.e. no kids, no dogs, no significant others, clear, color photo, quirky poses, props acceptable. This would allow me to manage one profile and allow active participants in the project to remain as part of the project. It would also mean “rejecting” people and I don’t really like that idea.

2. Start up a second Facebook page – call it Matt Held Studios – and direct all new friend requests, after 5,000 has been achieved, to that page. This would create a bit more work for me and my administrators – maintaining two pages and making sure people are directed to the right area, both pages get updated, etc., but this way I don’t have to eliminate people from the project.

I am not sure what the best option is, but hope to reach a decision within the next few days.

That said I do want to make you all aware that I have also been working on what my follow up to this project will be. I am not ready to disclose full details; however, regardless of whether or not one of your profile photos is chosen to be painted, I hope you stick around as group members to find out. It will be something you can all participate in if you have a camera.

Until then, hope life is treating you well.

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