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Facebook: Not Just for Friends Anymore (Part 5 of 6) February 6, 2010

Posted by friedgreenbananafish in Facebook.
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But what exactly is this cultural phenomenon and who started it? 

According to Michael Hirscorn, of the Atlantic Monthly, it all began in 2004, when a nineteen-year-old Harvard student was trying to, “digitize the legendary freshman-year ‘facebook,’ and allow students not only to gawk at one another’s photos but also to flirt, network, and interact.”  

The student’s name was Mark Zuckerberg, and he had just created a website that in only three short years would make him one of the youngest CEO’s in Silicon Valley. 

Zuckerberg believes that what makes his invention so compelling is his vision of a “social graph”; a mathematical formula that maps the real-life connections between every human on the planet.  

He argues that he simply took the main model of social interaction we use daily and put it on the internet — by crafting a personal “web” of friends, family members, classmates and business partners, you are automatically connected to each of their social graphs, thus expanding your circle and creating a “social infrastructure.” 

As one of the company’s cofounders said, “In five years, we’ll have everybody on the planet on Facebook.”  

(Which kind of makes you wonder if Kevin Bacon has a Facebook; and, if he does, how many friends do you have to have before you have one friend in common?)   

But there are some analysts who are not so sure about the values of having an online social graph.  Danah Boyd, a researcher at the UC Berkeley School of Information, argues that as years progress, the social graph will become meaningless.  She asks the question:

“Do you really want to be speaking with everyone you ever met?” 

This is something to think about, especially when it comes to the workplace.  With more and more people on Facebook by the hour, many questions of “Facebook etiquette” have arisen, most of them situated in the office; one of the most unexpected, yet common concerns is what to do when your boss “friends” you. 

Consider the predicament of Paul Dyer when he found himself in this very situation — to decline his boss’s invitation would be a slight and cause a rift in the workplace, but to accept the invitation would force him to share intimate details with his coworkers. 

His decision?  He accepted the boss’s invite, but with some embarrassing results:  his boss, trying to be “cool,” started posting unusual pictures of himself, and writing strange comments on Dyer’s profile. 

So it appears that Facebook can be good, bad or ugly — it all depends on how you use it.  

To be continued…



1. Another Day On Facebook - February 6, 2010

Keep on going. I love it.

It is interesting to see how Facebook has literally changed society. We now have terms like socialnomics and Facebook etiquette. Major corporations are now taking notice and acting upon things on Facebook.

As such a powerful tool. I wonder if Facebook actually understands its responsibility.

Another Day On Facebook

friedgreenbananafish - February 7, 2010

It might not be popular, but about every six months or so I go through my “friends list” and remove people.

I don’t do it out of anger or spite; I only remove people I haven’t talked to in that six month period (I figure they won’t miss me much anyway).

I just feel that if I can’t tell someone how I feel in person, then they really don’t need to be reading it on my status updates.

Another Day On Facebook - February 8, 2010

Hmm I think I am going to do that now.

I recently came to the realization that just because I met somebody does not mean I should add them.

friedgreenbananafish - February 9, 2010

I think that more and more of us will begin to forge our online connections a little more wisely. I remember when I first got a Facebook profile, I added people left and right for the sheer novelty of seeing that little “friends” number go up.

Now, instead of adding every single acquaintance I know, I only add the people I genuinely want to talk to. After all, if the situation arises where I actually need to reach someone who isn’t my “friend” I can always send them a FB message.

Another Day On Facebook - February 10, 2010

That is very true.

It would be interesting to see Facebook add a new add feature which puts people in your contact list but does not have them added to your friends list. Essentially allowing people to connect without bringing along all sorts of information.

This would work extremely well with the new email feature Facebook is thinking of incorporating.

Another Day On Facebook

friedgreenbananafish - February 15, 2010

That is a great idea. It seems like Facebook toyed with the idea a few years ago with the popularity of the “Top Friends” application. They could use a similar system to do exactly what you said.

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