THE WORLDPOST
09/28/2011 01:11 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2011

Harold Hackett Sends 4,800 Messages In Bottles, Gets Thousands Of Responses

Harold Hackett is the original social networker.

Since 1996 he's thrown 4,871 messages in bottles into the Atlantic, and garnered over 3,100 responses, according to Yahoo! News. The 58-year-old Prince Edward Island resident has received letters from across the globe, including France, Germany, the Bahamas and even Africa.

According to the Prince Edward Island Guardian, the hobby began with a glass Pepsi bottle that Hackett threw overboard while fishing. That first bottle simply included a name and address and requested a response.

After receiving his first letter in reply, his hobby was off and running.

But written responses aren't the only thing that Hackett receives in return. In many cases, he strikes up friendships with the people he hears back from. According to his interview with the BBC, Hackett typically receives 150 Christmas cards from the people he's contacted by bottle each year.

You can watch the BBC's touching interview with Hackett here, from the BBC.

Some of the letters he's sent out have potentially been at sea for decades. In his interview with the BBC, he displays letters from the places like Ireland and Norway that took 10 or 11 years to reach him.

Over the years, his hobby has garnered him a fair amount of attention, according to the P.E.I. Guardian:

"Harold the bottle man" has become somewhat of a legend. He even has a display at Ripley's in Cavendish. That happened after the Ripley's owner found one of Hackett's bottles at his cottage in Florida. Some of the letters and souvenirs he received are included in the display.

Hackett has no plans of stopping, either; he plans to continue sending out letters and building his social network until he is no longer able to do it. "I'm gonna go as long as I can," he told the BBC.

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