Facebook "Top Friends": More of the same?

Having just been invited to the "Top Friends" application [Facebook login req'd] I started thinking that it's deja vu all over again. Facebook is (or was?) a collection of mostly people I know in one way or another (weak ties in the social network lingo). Because most of the links are weak, using the word "friend" to describe a link between me and others is a bit problematic. But I'm all right with that. (Aside: Let's find a word, other than "friend", that stands for "someone I know".)

But now there's a "Top Friends" application so one can show 32 people who are ... well, I don't know... "top", "better", "closer", .... It's a bit like the T-Mobile "Fave 5", but that application is useful -- quick one-button calling. The Facebook app just seems explicitly exclusionary. I don't need a "Top Friends" application. Whenever I look at my list of Facebook friends I know the nuances of each relationship.

The trouble with computer-based relationship descriptions is that programs cannot embody tacit knowledge; everything needs to be explicit. But I'm not a program; I'm a human and I'm OK with ambiguity. Why can't we just leave it at that?

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3 Comments

These apps that encourage rating people are essentially non-collective and un-social - in my opinion. I don't rank or rate people in my life. Each plays a different role. Strangers can figure significantly in our lives for very short periods of time - possibly more than family. Again, there's no need to compare or evaluate. It's the wrong model. And this is what I'm getting at with FB in general - it's full of bad models. Bad social models, bad technology models. What is Facebook, really?

"(Aside: Let's find a word, other than "friend", that stands for "someone I know".) "

You mean, 'aquaintance'?

Gorbag, well 'acquaintance' has the required definition, but it's too many syllables, isn't it? In today's attention stressed world shorter is better. I would vote for "link", since in a social network like Facebook my friends are those to whom I'm linked. To me LinkedIn has a more accurate name.

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