So it’s the new year. Fireworks flying everywhere. Drunkards gallivanting around the city. Innocent souls braving Embankment in the bitter cold (well, it was a bit hotter than sual this year, but let a man exaggerate a little -.- )
Truth is the new year has over the past decade been witness to a new tradition: The New Year Texts. Spare a thought for the servers, having to chug millions of repetitive texts across the nation, clogging up its crap filter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the messages we send each other are full of meaning and thought…I’m sure Friend X does wish I have a great year of success and Relative Y does hope I get all desire this year. However, am I sure that the text I’ve received isn’t just victim to an annual mass text dissemination?
From this psychosocial phenomenon, I decided to try things a little different this year. What can I say, I couldn’t shy away from an experiment. And it took 5 minutes of data analysis on a mundane 3rd January.
I divided each friendship group (King’s College friends, Imperial College friends, Hometown friends, KEEN Volunteering friends, and friends from my old part time job) into two groups: one group being sent the usual generic Happy New Year message, and another group of equal size being sent the usual generic Happy New Year message followed by a personalised on-the-spot message from myself with their name. Then a simple measurement of efficacy is the number of replies recieved from each group. A negative control of one or two friends involved not sending any text (Sorry!) and seeing if I get a text back.
The results speak for themselves. Be a bit more personal and you get a lot more love back. I particularly love the fact that the Imperial College friend who I chose as a negative control texted me anyway…but then again they might’ve been sending that text anyway. Still, brownie points to them.
Don’t ask about error bars. I mean how on earth do you do a repeat of this experiment? I’m not travelling back or forward in time for this. Time travel remains limited to going back to the golden years of playing Goldeneye N64 and watching WCW wresting with my mates, with not a care in the world. Yes, WCW, not WWF.
I shall leave you with a note on the other New Year tradition…the broken Resolution(s).
I love New Year Resolutions. My personal belief is that everyday should involve time for self-reflection and personal-optimisation, and New Years an annual opportunity to start off new and install a good habit or delete a bad one.
I have a few, but I’ll share you one resolution that I picked up off a friend. Stopping swearing. The number of times I have sworn and, after review, realised the pointlessness and depravity of it. Good riddance.
I shall leave with one last sentiment from Bill Vaughan: “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”