Thursday, August 19, 2004

Multiply this!

Too good to pass up:

The feature I’d most like to see in any new social network: Import from some other social network. Get me out of the middle of re-re-re-re-confirming that I am so-and-so’s dear friend.

These social networks in my experience continue to be all maintenance and no value. [ Joho the Blog ]

Now, I’ll agree in part: when Multiply invitations started, well, multiplying in my inbox last week, my first reaction was an overwhelming sense of dread. Here we go again, I thought. It was bad enough with Orkut, which coincidentally timed itself right as the Dean campaign was imploding. All those Deaniacs needed somewhere to cement their relationships before leaving Burlington and various state outposts — and the resulting flood of Orkut invites was almost unbearable. (I complied, verified all my “friends”, and then wondered, “Now what?” I haven’t been back to Orkut in at least four months.)

Don’t get me wrong: it’s nice to know that people want to stay in touch with you. But honestly, why should I bother?

Where I disagree with David is on the “all maintenance and no value” comment. I’ve actually found LinkedIn to be pretty useful — I’m not getting an inordinate number of requests to establish contact, and find that those requests I do get are often at least moderately useful to the person they’re intended for. The requests provide a nice opportunity to periodically touch base with people in my circle I might not otherwise ping from time to time, so I find that my forwards often include quick updates or requests to stay in touch. In one case I helped an old boss of mine find a VC to talk with about a new business opportunity; in another, I helped a friend connect to a potential employer (which accelerated the job application process considerably).

Let me second David’s request, though: an ability to sync the various social networking services so that users like me don’t have to recreate our networks (or spam our friends in the process). Yes, I know this is what Marc has been talking about for some time now. I get it now. It’s about FOAF’ing time.

1 comment:

  1. Well Rick, if you went back to Orkut, you'd find about 10,000 foaf messages awaiting you....

    That thing went through the Burlington office like the flu. And was as quickly forgotten.