On social networks

Ok, this isn’t necessarily wrong. I agree with much of what Brad is saying, in fact I agree with almost everything. People shouldn’t be forced to constantly redefine their social network for the benefit of a bunch of marketers out there. But they do. Since they want to hang out with their friends, peers, business aquiantances or whatever.

The funny thing is though that there are two places that pretty much define our active networks.

1: Our cell phones

2: Our current mail client (whether it is gmail or Outlook, doesn’t matter)

Naturally there’s people we come in contact with that don’t end up in our phone books but they aren’t really part of our social network, are they? Even though I might like it if the hot girl I bumped into at the bar the other night (hah! As if!) were a 1st degree part of my network she certainly isn’t and at the end of the day any connections that make sense have to be two way. This would also mean that I as a user actually control my network seamlessly. It Just Works (TM). Which is exactly what we would be looking for. It also allows me to have separate identities (aka separate SIM cards and separate mail accounts that may or may not be tied to them) in a useful way. So the question is how do I accomplish that rather than anything else. So basically you could have several levels of connectivity with another person:

  • One-way mail
  • Two way mail
  • One way phone
  • Two way phone

Then of course there are permutations as well but in terms of closeness I would imagine that a phone relation trumps an email relation and a two way relationship is much better than a one way relationship (if you’re not important enough to keep in my phone book or you don’t turn up as someone I have sent an email to then you’re probably not really much of a contact, but there is some for of connection there that may be transient or uninteresting for me). That would be really useful. Then there are of course all sorts of online relationships that are tied to a local persona – at myspace for example – but the question is whether those really make sense outside of the space of that very localized community.

Ah well, I will expand upon this later I think. Also a lot of thinking about the usefulness of spatial information in relation to computers and devices. But perhaps not the way you think


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