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How Many Of Your Friends Are Overseas?

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How Many Of Your Friends Are Overseas?
Submitted by capdog on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 09:52

It always feels like too many, and until now it's been pretty hard to pin down an exact figure. That is, until Facebook came along and neatly organised our social lives for us.

Using an application and some manual data entry, I unleashed the inner geek and finally put an exact number to a question that has been nagging at me for a while: am I being left alone while everyone I know is partying up a storm in London?

As Facebook users often join the incorrect network, or have none at all, it's not really enough to count the network numbers that are shown on your friends list. You need to do the tally by hand.

This is made simple by a Facebook application called FriendsCSV which gathers a list of all your friends and emails you the resulting file in a format that can be opened using Microsoft Excel.

On opening the file, I found that the 'current_location' field was blank, but the 'affiliations' field contained the network data. Perfect, except that it's often wrong.

So I scanned the list and filled in the blanks, dividing people into those that have emigrated, those that are leaving soon and others that are just working overseas.

The results were a little bit of a shock. As it turns out, a whopping 33.4% of my Facebook friends fall into one of the above categories! This doesn't include my friends who were not born in South Africa.

It seems like a high number, but I wonder what the tally would look like for people of other nationalities. Is it common for all people to have a third of their friends leave, with most of them never coming back?

It's difficult to say, but I'd guess that the brain drain in South Africa leaves us worse off than most first world countries, but possibly a lot better off than the rest of Africa.

Just look at the same stats for a Zimbabwean, for example.

How many of your friends do you think are overseas? And does it bother you?

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Subject:  emigration
Author:  chrisso
Date:  5 February, 2008 - 10:58

Based on my generation (dirty thirties), I reckon 85% of my mates have left. The majority have gone to the UK, with the rest divided pretty evenly between the States, Oz and NZ, with a couple in Canada, Singapore and Dubai.

My brothers mates are more like 90% have gone, all to the UK for money and experience, now all leaving the UK en masse to go to NZ or OZ, with a couple going to the States. My brother had his 10 year school reunion in London, how fuckin crazy is that!

I also think due to the current crisis facing our country, there is gonna be another big exodus shortly. We not the only ones tho, 40% of the pommies want to leave England, and NZ have a huge problem with most talented Kiwis opting for the bigger markets in Oz.

I think our exodus numbers will overtake them in the next couple years tho, the skills shortage will hit us hard. One engineer I know got a job with nothing to do for 6 months at more than R35000 a month, just so they had an engineer when some work came through. Think I chose the wrong career... :)

And yes, it bothers me big time. Altho I am bailing as well..

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Subject:  Thanks man, good perspective
capdog's picture
Author:  capdog
Date:  5 February, 2008 - 11:16

Thanks man, good perspective there... didn't realise that the (slightly) older crowds were much more worse off!

Where are you going and when?

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Subject:  bailing
Author:  chrisso
Date:  5 February, 2008 - 13:12

Nice usage of the word "slightly" there, bro, hahah.

Back to the UK for a couple years, and if things dont change for the better here, gonna cruise to Oz, NZ or the states, we're lucky to have a couple options. Also, cause I been to NZ I got a pretty realistic idea about what is better then here, and what is worse than here, no place is perfect.

Yah been a big decision to make, we been procrastinating for a year cause we still love this country and especially Durban, but between crime, limited opportunities, and disintegrating infrastructure we are gatvol. What makes me feel bad about it tho is by leaving I am part of the problem with skills emigrating. Eesh.

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Subject:  Eeeeeveryone's doing it!
Author:  NinjaMaster
Date:  5 February, 2008 - 14:37

I've only been out of school 5 or 6 years now and I didn't think much of emigration as the mass exodus I was hearing about until last year or so but it's becoming ridiculous.

A chunk of my friend-population did the gap year or 2 working years etc with just 2 or 3 digging in over there. Now that everyone in our little age-group is getting over that step of studying something or gaining some decent employment experience there are more and more empty spots in our social circles.
Everyone has their excuses:
(It's the crime, it's where the money is, it's safer, it's the gateway to travelling the world etc. etc.)
It is a huge percentage, I'd guess at least 60% of my friends and peers are gone or going...

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Subject:  gaps in the generations
kliktrak's picture
Author:  kliktrak
Date:  6 February, 2008 - 10:11

yip the older generation hit hard

myself in that 30's group, that experienced the big mass exodus in Mid 90's ie 2-3yrs post 1994

Also aspects specific to KZN, the english speaking youth affected in Durban and PMB - alot to do with access to Commonwealth/British ancestry passport/visas

I would say 90% of friends lost from PMB between '94 and '97 - in fact so detrimental i bailed to live outside of PMB cause my social networks disintegrated - and i realised that i could not make the move over the sea/s and so i headed to rural KZN to try and ground myself in certain realities to better equip myself for life in the real South Africa - emphasis on Africa

Facebook has help reconnect, in fact just yesterday connected up with someone I used to be at PMB varsity with, who is now in UK for 11 yrs - last time i saw them was about 6-7 yrs ago on a visit out to Durbs

its crazy stuff, because the SA scenario is an interesting example with specific characteristics that are linked to the overall continuum and dynamics that are called globalisation - specifically migration on a global level , what forces are at play , motivating these mass migrations , also showing up the weakness in the structures supposedly created post WW2 to provide global co-ordination eg UN, World Bank etc etc

Humanity will always morph itself, beyond any predetermination or structured control, or idea that "someone knows best..."


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Subject:  what?
Author:  chrisso
Date:  6 February, 2008 - 12:26

Kliktrak, that sounds interesting.

Explain? Want to see how I am part of the morph..

Emphasis on Africa indeed. That is one area I also go wrong is expecting things to work on a western standard when we are after all in Africa and must therefore adjust accordingly..

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