An article in The Guardian discusses “Facebook whales”, individuals with more than 1000 ‘friends’.
I personally have currently got 42 friends, all of whom I either know in real life, or know of professionally. I’m polite and add people that ask, if I know them, but if I don’t really have any interest in them, I delete them a few weeks later. I can’t even begin to imagine how you would try and manage that size of a network (allegedly, humans cope best with a network of between 100-200 individuals), and to be fair, Mr MacLeod does actually admit that he doesn’t read the news feed. Which leads me to wonder why he uses the site, if it’s not for keeping up with the activities of the people he’s interested in? Is he just friend collecting for the show-off element: “I’ve got SO many more friends than you, I’m so much more worthwhile”?
Anyhoo, I’d definitely like Facebook to develop a way to turn off certain peoples feeds, or certain activity feeds. I don’t need to know when a friend has added another friend..or that they’ve left certain groups (although when they join them it can be handy, but I don’t particularly care if they no longer want to be a member of that group, I’m a big enough girl to be able to play on my own). It just clogs up the feed, and the more your network grows, the more clutter you’ll get in your feed, as Mr MacLeod has found. A way to cut down what’s coming in as a feed would be very handy. Does this sort of option already exist?
On a related point, at a speed networking meeting last week for my professional group, we had a chat about sites like Facebook, Bebo, and even the grandfather of them all, MySpace. Of 5 of us, only 2 had access to these type of sites in work, and those 2 were unsure if it would be officially frowned upon if it were ever to come up formally. And these are meant to be forward thinking, cutting edge legal firms, governmental bodies and universities. Of course, the option is there to try and persuade our employers that we need access to these sites…but in a library context, we were hard pushed to find a good reason why we should have access. “Networking” is a wonderful word, but when you’re trying to justify to a fee earner, whose time is charged in minutes, why you should spend your minutes on a site that gives no business return…can you ever win?