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Who are the relevant friends on Facebook?

Mark Cuban hitting the 5,000 club on Facebook is all over Techmeme this morning.  His solution — dividing Facebook friends into real friends, acquaintances, and power friends — is an extreme case of a much more general need, which is to be able to categorize friends.  We already see this in the remarkable number of applications on Facebook that let you choose to designate some of your friends as your "top friends" or "best friends".  At best, these are bandaid solutions because they can't really address the core problem.  Facebook users need more sophisticated ways to decide how much information to reveal, to whom, and when.  They also need the converse: how much information do I want from which groups of people in my network, and when.  I really don't care, for instance, about Mark Cuban's clubbing habits and what he has for sale in the marketplace, since I live in Ottawa.  But I might be interested in his movie reviews or his musical tastes.

Facebook needs a solution like the iotum Relevance Engine, applied to the Facebook news feed and profile, rather than to a phone call.   

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Gary Will December 19, 2007, 6:10 am

    In Waterloo, we'd say it needs something like AideRSS for Facebook news feeds. :-)

    Facebook actually does have that — it's just in a pretty primitive state. Under your news feed preferences you can set which friends you want to hear more from or less from, and what kind of stories you're more or less interested in. I can't say I've noticed much of a difference and it could certainly be improved.

  • David December 19, 2007, 7:48 pm

    This is one of the benefits of Plaxo. It allows you to partition (and converge) your network across three groups, Business, Friends and Family.

    There are many features within the platform that give you a lot of social functionality as well as the standard networking functionality that you get in peers like Linkedin

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