Since its 2004 inception, Facebook has become much more than just another site to post your picture and hype your candidate. To prove it, Saudia Arabia-born student and Royal Canadian Army Cadet Imran Khan wants to take his love for the social networking site all the way to the Guinness Book of World Records. With over 48,000 members and counting in his Largest Facebook group in the Guinness Book of World Records club, the group has a long way to go in order to beat the current largest group, which already has over a million members. Via inbox posts, SMITH talked to this Facebook fanatic on why he’s hopeful he’ll take his group all the way to the top.
SMITH: When did you first join Facebook?
Imran Khan: I joined Facebook back in November of 2005.
Why are you trying to get the group into the Guinness Book of World Records?
I was speaking to a friend of mine on MSN, and we felt that since we couldn’t find a record regarding the largest group on Facebook in the books, we should create one of our own. Honestly, we didn’t know we would do so well in such a short period of time.
So is this group, then, really, about nothing? Just a large group for the sake of a large group?
No, this group has a reason for being what it is right now. This group represents a committed group of people that are willing to be noticed as they create the largest Facebook group. To me, each and every member deserves to be noticed. For some people, this may just be a large group; but for others, no!
Even so, you’ve got some stiff competition. There’s already another group on Facebook that has a lot more members than yours, not to mention the frenzy around the 1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert group. How do you expect to catch up and surpass groups with these huge numbers?
There are several groups on Facebook that have a lot more members than mine, but I do believe our group can increase. Knowing that the group just started a little over a month ago, I feel it won’t take long for it to get into the record books.
You don’t have a whole lot of customization on your own page. That seems surprising given how into Facebook you are.
There was a time when I was really addicted. But now that school started, I’m trying to tone it down a bit. Exams are here, so I can’t go on Facebook as much.
Fair enough. Back when you were addicted, what was your obsession like?
It was just a crave. I didn’t want to leave my house and whenever I left, I just wanted to go on Facebook. There were times when I was just irritated to leave my home and I would be on Facebook from morning to midnight. But since school’s started, I’ve taught myself to tone it down on Facebook. Life is just too busy now.
With so much going on, do you ever feel an urge to send notes and tell people about your hectic life?
Sometimes. Whenever I was doing something, I would always leave a message on my status board. But now I just try to keep my personal life away from Facebook. I mean, even now I think I have too much personal information on there, like my number and all that jazz.
But what about what’s going on in the Cadets? Do you ever want to tell people what training is like?
Being in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets is more like a leisure activity for me. I’ve been in the Cadets since 2004, and I’ll be done in 2008. I go on my usual Tuesday night trainings and attend parades in downtown Toronto for special events like Remembrance Day or Regimental parades. We go on weekend trainings to Base Borden, where we do some skill work for living in the bushes. There is an annual summer camp for cadets and I had been chosen to attend an advance course to the Rocky Mountains, all expenses paid.
That’s pretty interesting. So how come you didn’t put something like that on Facebook?
Even though I spend most of my time chatting on MSN or talking to people on Facebook, I find it a bit too much work to write about myself on Facebook.
So what about the videos you posted, like the guy on the subway train. Why did you to decide to post that one?
I was fooling around with friends at school so we decided it would go up on my Facebook. I was coming from Rogers Centre when my brother, a few friends, and I encountered him. He wanted to tell us a story, so we said, “Sure, go ahead.”
Before he started, though, my brother took out his camera and asked to record him. He refused at first, but then my brother said, “Well, you can’t tell your story then.” So then he agreed to it. We were coming from the Argos game.
How do you think society has changed since community sites like Facebook first starting making waves? Do you think it’s made the world a smaller place or a larger place?
I believe it’s made my world much smaller. I couldn’t believe how many people I’ve found so easily on Facebook. I’ve found many friends that I haven’t spoken to for several (as many as 10) years. At times, I feel that Facebook is something positive because it brings old friends back together again.
What do you think of all the recent aesthetics and additions to Facebook? Love ‘em or loathe ‘em?
I LOVE THEM! Modifying Facebook only makes it more obsessive!
What are you going to do if you do make the Guinness Book of World Records?
I will put all the members’ names in the book. It would not happen without the members. If I can, I will ask the Record Book to send everyone a certificate because this would be a group record, not an individual record…Even if the members just receive a certificate by email, I would want them all to be recognized.
What’s your six word memoir?
Get off Facebook and do something!