Do you really care about your social network friends?


I read a post on Slashdot called Who Unfriended You, and Why. You’ve got to be one insecure puppy if you are concerned about this junk.

I went on to LinkedIn yesterday and approved loads of connection requests. Of those people, the only person I think I know is the guy who massages my back before I see the Osteopath. The rest are a complete mystery to me. I’m kinda similar on Mix, the Oracle Community and the Oracle Wiki. I link to anyone who requests. I think it was yesterday that I read something (can’t find link) about Facebook having the edge over Google in the future of searches because they know so much more about you. Really? If linking is a factor I think more is definitely less!

Facebook is the only social network where I actively control my linking. With a couple of exceptions, all my friends on Facebook are people I know in real life and would consider proper friends (current or past). I even exclude “proper friends” within the Oracle community because I’m linked to them in so many other ways it seems pointless to clutter my Facebook with them. If you send a friend request to me on Facebook you are likely to get ignored, so don’t be offended, it’s just the way I use that site.

So back to the point, my use of Facebook means that the links there have value right? Surely if these people are my “proper friends” I will share a lot in common with them and you will be able to target me based on them and vice versa. Recently my Facebook has contained the following topics:

  • Babies: Food and sleeping patterns of babies have been by far the biggest subject for a few months. I have no kids. FAIL.
  • Gay poetry with a radical political edge: One of my friends from University is now a gay poet who is apparently pretty good. Never read his work. Not my scene. My interest in politics goes about as far as pointing out how retarded most political decisions are. FAIL.
  • Hill running: Look at me. Do I look like I could walk up a hill, let alone run up one? FAIL.
  • Local football teams: Football is not really my thing. If my nephews didn’t play it I could happily forget it exists. FAIL.
  • DJ and clubbing stuff: A couple of my friends are DJs so there are often posts about and invites to local club nights. I don’t do clubs. FAIL.

What is not included in that list is anything computer or database related. Oh dear. The thing you could really target me on is the only thing missing from my Facebook because the majority of my proper friends are not IT people.

Given the complete random way some people build their networks and the random guff they talk about, I don’t really think Google should be quaking in their boots quite yet. A bigger problem for them is the number of people that never leave Facebook and therefore never see Google ads on the rest of the web, not the [lack of] quality of information Facebook holds about us.



Caveats: I realize there is more to online marketing than this, but it was just an illustration of how random social networks can be.

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

4 thoughts on “Do you really care about your social network friends?”

  1. One question your post doesn’t answer is what are you saying to your friends on Facebook that they can listen in on. Do you see ads for Clint Eastwood films and the Dresden Files DVDs ?
    But there’s something about Facebook that unnerves me. I don’t like the idea of trying to keep up with all their rule changes.

  2. Hi.

    I don’t usually post anything about my blog posts on Facebook. I don’t link in my twitter to it either. I don;t want to inundate my mates with crap. 🙂



  3. Not friends on facebook, so don’t know where I would fall in your list. No football, I don’t run, and my child is grown up. But I do post a lot. However my point is I do care, and my criteria for facebook is people I know really well or others I have met that I want to get to know better.

    Twitter is for fun, and LinkedIn for people who work in my area (so you dont fit in there either).

    Have fun 🙂

  4. On linkedin, I reject requests from headhunters, especially from the UK. I can never respect such a poorly written UI. Not on there a lot, even though many O people I respect are now connected to me. Also, some headhunter managed to spam my workplace via linked-in, right when some people were getting all hot on it. What are headhunters thinking?

    I’m not on facebook a lot, ’cause it is such a timesink, but I do like to follow my relatives and old friends. Sometimes I have no clue that their spouses are dying of cancer or whatever, because some people just don’t want to post about that.

    One of my cousins I hadn’t heard from in a while and is not on those sites left a voicemail Saturday asking if my sister was really mugged in the UK. He recognized it as spam, but it had enough details (including her old yahoo business sig and her current crackberry reply-to) to look real, and he was concerned someone had hijacked her crackberry. I got one of those (nearly identical) from another cousin last year, which was morbidly funny because his wife had just died, and really couldn’t have been mugged in London.

    As far as your FAILs, really, all social networking has done is increase the percentage of everything that is crap. It used to only be 90%…

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