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.