9 March 2009

Familiar Faces

I think Facebook fixed their “People you may know” feature, because recently it was showing people I didn’t really know but this morning I knew the listed names and faces and among these:


(Not an actual screenshot, edited to remove non FOSS people)

Now, it is not as if I could be friend with them – after all I know their name/face because we attended the same conferences or read Planet Gnome.  I don’t want to be that excessive Facebook-friend-adder.  I personally draw the line by asking myself “Would that person know/remember who I am?”, therefore I try to only add people that I’ve talked with in real life.

Facebook chose the word Friend to identify the persons I allow to see my information.  It is a rather strong word because some of the people in my “friend” list are just acquaintances and they mix with my best friends!  Yet, they are people I’d like to keep informed about.

Thanks Facebook for forcing me to think about what defines friendship before breakfast ;-)

Comments (4)

  1. 9 March 2009
  2. 9 March 2009
    twilightomni said...

    The idea of a facebook friend is not that of a real “friend” at all. It is a mere social networking node.

    You add the significance to the relationships, not facebook. It treats all nodes as equal. Calling every connection you have a “friend” is intentionally false, and only serves to deliberately blur the line between a “node” in the social network and a real relationship — something in facebook’s favor, since it helps enlarge its networks.

    Don’t be afraid to stick to your own definition of what “friend” means, against facebook’s context.

  3. 9 March 2009
    Michael said...

    FYI, you can still separate out acquaintances, best friends, etc. with friends lists. See http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/ for info about that and other excellent tips.

  4. 9 March 2009
    Simon said...

    You’re right, the term ‘friend’ isn’t entirely correct for what Facebook is modeling (many of mine are actually family and co-workers rather than personal friends), but I can’t actually think of a better generic one. I suppose the alternative is providing some way of labeling the relationship, but I suspect that’s a bad path to go down in terms of actually keeping those relationships.