Where are you?!?!?

Case Study: Pattern Recognition in 2018 FB Messenger Conversations

This research has identified a consistent trend in online conversations between Mayra and her friends. Qualitative analysis of a large data sample drawn from the social media application Facebook Messenger shows frequent use of the question ‘where are you?!?’ This result suggests Mayra has failed to adequately communicate her whereabouts with many of her extended family, friends, acquaintances and some people she has only met once before but nevertheless continue to send her messages.

The following transcript is an example of typical correspondence.

Friend: Hey Maiz. Where are you?!?!?!?!?
Mayra: Hellooooo! So great to hear from you. We’re home!
Friend: Home? I thought you were sailing in Indonesia?!?
Mayra: Yes. We were.
Friend: Were? What happened?
Mayra: Nothing happened… well…. lots happened, but it’s ok. It was just as we’d planned. After a week in Timor we spent about 2 months in Indo Nov-Dec last year. Sailed from Dili to Kupang, then Rote, Savu, Sumba, Rinca, Sumbawa and Lombok.
Friend: Wow. Sounds amazing.
Mayra: It was! We loved it!!! Although the wet season had started in Indonesia so there was lots of rubbish in the water.
Friend: Ergh. So what are you up to now?
Mayra: Well we had Christmas at home and have spent the last few months back in our usual routine. Markito started grade 4 and the twins started kinder.
Friend: Ok – but where is the boat?
Mayra: We left her at a marina in Lombok.
Friend: Aaaahh I see. I know you won’t be home for long… what’s next?!?
Mayra: Funny you should say that… I’m actually in Oecusse (Timor) at the moment working on a research project about community water management.
Friend: Yikes you get around. How’s it going?

Mayra: I’ve been here for 3 weeks now and it’s been fantastic. I love spending time in rural communities. The work has been stimulating and challenging in all the best ways. We’ve had a great team.
Friend: Big trip hey.
Mayra: Yeah. I’m looking forward to getting home in a week.

Friend: How you going being away from the fam?

Mayra: Better than I expected actually. Simon sends me photos every day so I always know what they’re up to.

Friend: And what about your adventure on the high seas?

Mayra: In May we all fly back to Lombok and hop back on board Red Dragonfly.
Friend: Eek that’s not long now! I hope I get to see you before you head back to your ocean home.
Mayra: That’d be great. Let’s see how we go xx

Friends: Ok stay in touch xx

ps. I don’t have good enough internet access here in Oecusse to upload other photos to this blog post. Next time.

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