Cory on the short life span of social networks

Adding friends at unhuman speeds

Cory Doctorow came to the BBC's Festival of Technology last week and during his short time there (well Alice is ready to give birth any moment now, good luck by the way) he mentioned his thoughts on social networking sites like Facebook. I didn't have my camera turned on but I remember the thrust of the talk which was something like this.

I certainly have got fed up of people asking to be a friend. And rather that flat out reject people, I've collected a good number of people who I haven't responded to yet. It is painful when I open facebook to see there are still 45 requests to be my friend, but I do after a while log on and start ignoring the requests – simply because there are too many and i'm in a bad mood. On Linkedin I'm less strict because the data on my profile is public anyway. While on Plaxo Pulse I'm super strict about tagging people because it affects what they can see about me. I don't watch everyone who watches me on twitter or jaiku because messages sometimes go to my phone or mostly pop up in my im client.

I was once believe it or not told off by someone for not “friending” them back on Twitter. I told the person, if they know anything about me they won't be offended. I follow currently 124 people and 585 people follow me. Thats almost 5x the amount of people following that me watching. So I started looking around to see what the ratio was like for other people I know.

I don't think this says much but its interesting that only scoble gets a 1x ratio, the nutter that he is.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.