Michael Arrington recently posted this neat article on his blog. While I don’t disagree with him, do you really think it is possible to delete 400 out of your 600 “friends”? I think the problem comes from the fact that Facebook is a collection of people we know, but we want it to be a network of friends. It’s a very cool way of socially organizing all your contacts, but this comes at the cost of watering your true “social network”.
Facebook is the equivalent of meeting someone and giving them your business card, except now the business card contains the access code to your house. So there are basically the following options:
- Stop handing out business cards to most people.
- Hand out cards to almost everyone, and complain about how too many people are up in your business.
- Complain that the business card maker needs to have some easy way to choose who gets what.
This is basically what is happening right now. Now lets take case 1. You meet someone at a conference. You chat for 5 minutes. Do you tell them that they are not close enough to get your business card? Probably not, right? A very good example is Path. You are sitting with a colleague and chatting about technology. Now they add you on Path as you show them this cool new app. Do you tell them, this is restricted to your friends/family? There is no real way of declining this socially. What we need is circles much like we have in real life (and no I am not saying that Google+ circles are the right way or anything like that). In real life you call a bunch of friends to chill. Not every time you invite everyone. But that doesn’t mean they don’t belong in your network.
A contrast to that is twitter, which is completely public (and I actually consider my website/blog + Twitter as my business card). You can either have a completely closed network, or a completely public one. You can not have a semi private network like Facebook, and then tell people they are do not belong in it. Rather much like real life, give me control on what goes where. In real life I use my cell phone to call everyone, but I don’t need to tell everyone the exact same thing, when I call them.
I hope our social networks will get smarter, and realize that not everyone is equal to us. At the same time, I don’t wanna use 50 different networks for different types of people/activities.