How to Leave your Facebook Status and Posts Higher on Friends’ Newsfeeds

Facebook’s Newsfeed of your Facebook friends’ posts scrolls with time as new ones are added, pushing old ones toward the bottom… sort of. It’s not quite that simple that new ones push old ones down. Facebook as a complex algorithm (math formula) that mixes things up a bit. So how do you beat this algorithm?

Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on Facebook Friends (and some polls)

The average Facebook user today has 130 friends. But how many of them would that average user really call a friend? And by friend, I mean just “friend”. I don’t mean anything like “true friend”, “real friend”, “good friend” or the like. Just someone you’d call a friend.

That would be hard to get a consistent answer since different people have different standards for who they call a friend. For some, only the truest of friends get called a friend. For others, anyone who might have followed them on Twitter, or vice-versa, counts as a friend. What we need is some sort of standard definition for “friend” to move this forward.

Aristotle

Interestingly, a good definition for “friend” can be found over 2300 years ago courtesy of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).

According to Aristotle, there are three types of friends, in increasing level of strength and sincerity:

  1. Contacts or those based on usefulness or utility, sometimes known as acquaintance;
  2. Drinking buddies or those based on pleasure (to use the word conservatively); and
  3. Good friends or those based on shared virtues.

If we accept all three of these categories to be friends, as Aristotle called them three types of friends, we then have a pretty broad definition of friend, but one which I would be happy to accept. Question then is if these definitions are still broad enough to cover how most people decide whether or not to add others as friends on Facebook. That would take a lot of resources to not only survey but to also verify. I doubt the folks at Facebook would even be able to do the latter conclusively, though I think they have a pretty good idea along the same lines I do.

From what I have seen and read of people and how they use Facebook, as well as who uses them and how, I would argue that a lot of people’s Facebook friends fall outside of Aristotle’s definition. So one would either need to expand Aristotle’s definition of friends to include these slightest of Facebook friends, or these slightest of Facebook friends aren’t really friends.

At first glance, Aristotle’s contacts category seems broad enough. After all, these slightest of Facebook friends are often people a user would have met only once, if that. They probably serve only as potential usefulness, never mind true utility. That is, they get added cause one never knows when they might be useful, not that they are likely to be useful in some way. Many people have Facebook friends just for the sake of upping their count and feel more people are paying attention to their Facebook activity. Others to avoid some situational awkwardness, like being Facebook friends with someone’s partner just because s/he is the jealous type who wants to keep an eye on their partner’s Facebook activities, when one doesn’t really give a damn if they exist. However, this adding of potentially useful friends can only happen to a point before users would not be able to remember people on their Facebook friends list. That is, if you asked them if so and so were on their Facebook friends list, they wouldn’t be able to tell you with certainty. Or if you asked them the name of certain people who are actually on their Facebook friends list, they wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about them at all, including how they got on that list in the first place.

I don’t know what the approximate average number of Facebook friends one would need to have before they would start forgetting everything about someone on that list, but I can tell you the situation would be true for some Facebook whales . That’s the term Facebook has for Facebook users with over 1,000 friends. Seriously, one thousand people is a lot of people to remember names and something about them. But if you don’t buy that people can remember details about a thousand mostly generic people, perhaps you’d believe the situation of not being able to remember anything about some Facebook friends would be true for those who have reached Facebook’s friends list limit of 5,000. Yes, there are those, too.

Poor Aristotle must be turning over in his grave at what some people constitute as friends today, though I’m sure he wouldn’t expand his definition of friends but rather state those slightest of Facebook friends are truly friends at all.

So after all that, maybe you’d like to weigh in with some opinions with a comments, like how you’d define a friend or why you keep Facebook friends you might not remember anything about, etc. Or maybe you’d just like to take some polls on Facebook friendship below (or see how others responded). The sample from this blog will be skewed because a lot of people come here for Facebook related activities so they tend to be avid Facebook users, but I’m just curious to see.

Share/Bookmark

Other Facebook user facts:

  1. Canada has the 4th highest Facebook user rate per capita as of June 2010 with 47.9% of Canadians having a profile. This trails only Iceland (59.6%), Norway and Hong Kong, in that order.
  2. Canada has the highest Facebook user rate per capita among nations with 10 million citizens or more.
  3. There are 16 million Facebook users in Canada.
  4. Quit Facebook Day is May 31. A measly 30,000 quit worldwide of about 465 million users. Most “I Hate Facebook” type groups and pages are actually hosted on Facebook.
  5. Canada signed up 912,000 new users in May 2010 alone.

Other Facebook issue posts on my site:

The Prejudices and Privacy Perils of Facebook Quizzes

How to Get Rid of Your Facebook Past

25 Things For Facebook You Can’t Steal My ID With

25 Things You Gave on Facebook to Help Get Your ID Stolen

Una Guía de Netiqueta Práctica para Facebook

 

Share/Bookmark

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.6

Serendipitous Discovery of Leah West’s Music

Leah West, from her ReverbNation profile

Leah West

I am not active on MySpace, checking into my MySpace profile just once in a few months, probably. It’s not my main point of contact, but rather a venue to share the one song I have written and recorded thus far… which will change this summer. I usually check in just to see if anything happened I should know about, that’s about it.

Tonight, I saw a Friend Request from one Leah West (MySpace), a musician (and model, actress, painter, photographer, etc.) formerly of New Jersey and now of Kelowna, BC. I had never heard of her but am long past that sort of thing to be surprised by it. I know it’s about social networking, not necessarily people who know each other. On the same principle, if people send a Friend Request of me, I won’t turn them down unless they seem really scary… more in a social sense than physical sense. I just accept, be flattered at face value they sent me a Friend Request, a little more if they typed something like Leah did, and have a listen to their music. I often enjoy it, but that might be that. However, every once in a while, I find something that’s delightful and tonight, it was Leah West’s music!

First thing to notice was her beautiful voice. The music moves and is moving. There is breadth to it, from simple and fun songs to deep and personal songs loaded with intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful lyrics. All of them are tied together by a genuine sense of honesty that it all came from within Leah, that this is the person she is. Someone who has decided to give us the privilege to look into her soul, just the way it is, through the sounds of her music.

There are six great songs on Leah West’s MySpace profile, but her ReverbNation profile has 54 songs. I’m half way through the list now and have not found a bad track yet. So many good songs I’m starting to believe there isn’t a bad one! They are all of the pop / alternative / indie styles she classifies herself as, though, so if you have a quota on that for how much you can listen to at one time, 54 might be a bit much. Mind you, 54 of anything, even the Beatles, can be a bit much for most. Still, I believe there is a lot more to this young lady than p/a/i. With a voice and, more importantly, a spirit like hers, I think she can do and succeed in a lot of other genres. She just has to determine which of them are within her, when the time is right for her. But absolutely, I very much highly recommend you have a listen to her music at the link above.

Both profiles contain a lot of other interesting information about Leah, including artists she’s worked with, appearances and so on, but Leah’s website has even more, including her photos from modeling, acting, her blog and so on! Rocking! She’s also on YouTube as the video above shows, though it only had 280 views at time of this posting. Contrast that to the well over 1 million views her MySpace profile has had since June 24 2008 (i.e. just 10 months from this posting!).

Anyway, social networking is quite a lot like the lottery. A lot of times, there isn’t much to be gained, if not something lost like time. You have to have that mentality to play it and survive. However, every once in a while, you feel like you won something. Discovering Leah West’s music tonight has definitely been worth my while. As for her, I see she’s got close to 12,000 “friends” on MySpace, but she won over one geniune fan tonight in me!

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Btw, did you know the mean number of Friends a user on MySpace has is 55? That’s just if you averaged out the number of friends every user had, though this should probably be 54 since everybody has Tom, the default friend on MySpace. Compare that to Facebook users who have an average of 125.

However, and this is a BIG however, the median number of MySpace friends a user has is just 2! That is, if you ordered each user in a list from most friends at one end and least friends at the other, and you walked halfway down that line, the person there would have 2 MySpace friends! (Source: Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody)

Wow! Talk about saying something about the nature and interactions of its users given people like Leah has almost 12,000!

What social networking if half the users literally have 2 or fewer friends, with 1 by default to start???

This fact is true despite MySpace still being ranked #9 on Alexa.com’s web traffic rankings at time of posting! Lots of traffic but not of the true interactive kind, obviously. At least not anywhere near where it could be. ReverbNation sits at 7,347 at time of posting, if you’re curious.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.3

Share/Save/Bookmark