Message in a Bottle: Old School Social Networking

This has to be the best story I’ve come across all year!

It’s an epic story of an ancient form of communication (messages in bottles date back to 310 BC!) that has endured despite the Internet, a form of communication that, thanks to one man’s determination, has proven incredibly effective, connecting him to people all across the world.


A Canadian man has tossed more than 4,800 messages in a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean in the past 15 years — and received more than 3,100 replies.

Harold Hackett, who lives in Tignish, Prince Edward Island, the smallest province in Canada that hugs the Atlantic coastline, told his story to the BBC.

He uses discarded juice containers to hold his letters, dates each one and asks the finder of the bottle to respond…

He started the hobby in May 1996 and since has received responses from Russia, Iceland, Holland, the U.K., Florida and even Africa and the Bahamas, wherever the wind and tide go…

Hackett said he sends as many as 200 bottles off every week. He doesn’t think he’ll ever stop.

Now, do yourself a favor and don’t read the comments left by MSNBC readers. It’ll just be depressing, how cynical people can be, either with their inability to feel the sweetness of this story, or with their ridiculous claims that Harold should be prosecuted as a polluter. (Regarding the latter, to use an apt metaphor, let’s just say there are MUCH bigger fish to fry!)

Harold’s simple wish is to feel connected to people outside his isolated island home, and the success he’s had, it seems to me, has as much to do with the power of the tides and currents as it has to do with Harold sending out positive energy and attracting it in return.

“I never dreamt I’d get that many back that quick,” Hackett said, emphasizing that the responders have become more than one-time pen pals.

“I usually get about a 150 Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, souvenirs,” Hacket said in a video posted on the BBC website. “I just love doing it the old way. The reason I won’t put my phone number on my letters is they’d all call me back, and I wouldn’t get any letters.”

How can you not LOVE this story?!!

2 thoughts on “Message in a Bottle: Old School Social Networking

  1. I am torn re: the environmental issues, but I do find this story compelling. Now I will watch the coast line much more closely when I’m out & about. Perhaps Harold & I will one day be pen pals.

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