While many people may mock the idea of accepting Facebook friend requests from strangers, that might be just what a long-term drug addict needs. An experiment being run in Amsterdam at the moment is exploring the idea.
Dutch branding agency Lemz has set up drug addict Monica with her own Facebook page. As she makes her way around the Dutch city she wears a bright blue jacket bearing text asking people to befriend her on the social network.
What can this possibly achieve? The idea is that by making friends online, Monica will be able to gain self confidence and new interests that will help inspire her to quit her addiction. On the page, Monica says “Don’t be afraid! If you decide to become my friend you will get an interesting peek into my daily life (with a maximum of two posts a day). I will NEVER ask for money or try to visit you in person. The only thing I will ask from you is your online friendship.”
Mark Woerde of Lemz tells us “It all started when a relative of mine started ikgebruik.nl to help junkies find their way to organisations of help. He asked me to help him to promote his site among drugs users. We soon found out that drugs users really wanted to help making this site a big success. Now the site ikgebruik.nl is run by drugs users, sharing their experiences and scaring of potential new users. What really struck me was that these drugs addicts by doing this felt like humans again. Especially when all news channels reported about this group of junkies now helping others.”
Now it’s hoped the Facebook idea will reaffirm Monica’s faith in humanity and that the idea could scale to more addicts in the city. “There are many many people out there who want to help others and you do not need 5000 friends per addict”, Woerde says.