Man builds social network using Atlantic Ocean

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Harold Hackett has thousands of friends all over the world, and he didn’t get them through social media.

The Canadian has spent the last 15 years using the Atlantic Ocean as his very own Facebook by casting bottled messages on the waves.

A resident of Tignish, a fishing village on Prince Edward Island, Hackett has received over 3,100 replies to more than 4,800 messages he has sent out, a 64 percent response rate.

Hackett, interviewed on BBC News Magazine, tossed out his first message in May 1996. He has received replies from Canada and the U.S., Iceland, Europe, and as far away as Africa, Russia, and South America.

The 59-year-old hobbyist uses juice bottles with their launch date inscribed in permanent marker. He encloses photocopied messages asking those who find the bottles to write to him–via snail mail.

Hackett often sets bottles adrift on his birthday, August 23, and waits.

Some bottles have taken more than a decade to be discovered. Some have been opened and then returned to the waves, only to be found by someone elsewhere.

“I got one (note) back with five different people finding it,” Hackett was quoted as saying by … [Read more]

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