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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Defect With Social Networking Websites

All of the social networking websites have the following two defects. I'm considering writing my own social networking engine, but blogging is a more efficient use of my time right now. First, the "friend" operation need not be symmetric. Second, the "friend" operation should be a float instead of a boolean.

Making the "friend" operation symmetric is stupid. For example, you could say "I like FSK. His blog is awesome." However, it is possible that I have no idea who you are, or that I think you're a pro-State troll. You should be able to declare "FSK is my friend", without me being required to say that you are my friend. You shouldn't need permission from me to declare that you are my friend.

Making the "friend" operation boolean is stupid. It should be a scale of 0 to 1, or even better -1 to +1. A value of 0 means "I have no clue who this is". A value of 1 would be "best friend". A value of -1 means "I never want to see this scumbag again."

I'm waiting to see a social networking platform that addresses these two bugs. I wonder if Google's "open social" platform will be flexible enough to implement these two features correctly?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing out this defect. This is a big problem, as no matter what I do to preserve my online privacy, my idiot friends continue putting my email address on bogus e-vites, e-cards, etc. or adding me to their 'buddy lists' conveniently maintained by Goggle and Ychoo, or companies they own. It appears that not having an email address may be the only way to avoid this idiocy.

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