When the long tail makes the most sense

Friends

Rachel wrote this good post about Twitter.

Twitter is still small enough to be fun – although that may change. Suw today asked if there was an optimum Twitter friend pool size. There probably is, which will vary by person and how much data you can browse. We’ll get the power users, with plenty of friends and far more followers. Others will keep it private and contained. It’s the Long Tail curve all over again.

This certainly says to me, its not good to just add contacts to twitter like most people do on social networks. The more you have the less relevance it has and more noise you will get. And in a service like twitter, this could render it pointless (like watching the public feed). Yes I know you can change who your following but this is a pain like sending a user a direct message (notice how many people use the syntax @username). So generally the degrees of separation are kept small. I mean who wants to pay for
5 updates every minute on their phone? Or even see them in their IM client.

I've noticed this is also very key in another social service. Upcoming.org has this great little feature which shows you all the events your friends/contacts are also watching or attending. This is a interesting feature but like Twitter, you don't want to add too many friends otherwise it becomes like the public feed and has very little relevance.

meta-technorati-tags=friends, seperation, degreesofseperation, upcoming, twitter meta-send-pingbacks=true meta-auto-trackback=true

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Author: Ianforrester

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