June 09, 2003

Friendster Futures

Friendster just keeps on growing. Every day seems to see another social segment jump on board. And its getting a lot closer to being useful to. Not as a dating service mind you (does anyone know of someone who actually got some do to Friendster?), but as a way to connect friends and visualize social networks.

Its the way they've changed the bulletin board that really shows the way to the future. A few weeks back the Friendster bulletin board was filled with often obscene posts from people far off on the fringe of you're extended social network. And it turned people off. But today that problem is gone, and the bulletin board is suddenly an extremely potent tool.

The change? The bulletin board now only shows posts from your first degree friends, the people you have confirmed your linkage too in the system. And with that change the board suddenly has become an excellent way to exchange a level of mundane but useful information with your friends.

Imagine trying to tell your entire social network you plan to hang out at Bar X tonight, or see movie Y at 7:00. Obviously you can call a few friends, old school style, but its not going to cover much of your network. You could send out a mass email as well, but after a couple of those you are going to transform into a spammer. Better save those bulk mailings for the bigger events you want to booster. You could post to a blog too, but how many of your friends really read it daily?

The Friendster bulletin board fills a previously unoccupied space. A way to casually announce mundane events to your entire social network without working too hard, or transforming yourself into a spam farmer. Of course there is plenty of room for improvement, Friendster doesn't account for many of the subtleties of social dynamics that allow society to keep functioning. But its power as a tool seems to grow daily. There is something here and I think its quite potent. More soon.

Posted by Abe at June 9, 2003 08:00 PM


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