Facebook in Real Life

Here’s a hilarious video imagining what a social network website encounter would be like in real life.

One of the difficulties with social network websites is that they present a very simplified picture of human relationships. A person’s social world cannot readily be divided up into friends and not-friends. Human relationships are much more complicated and diverse. The simplified matrix of relationships available on social network websites can result in some awkwardness, and it can also result in too much information disclosure. We might want to disclose a lot of information to certain close friends, but much less information to acquaintances or to friends in a more professional context. There is no easy solution for this problem, because a social network website with hundreds of categories for relationships might be rather complicated and oppressive to use. And people might not be pleased to know precisely where on one’s relationship matrix they stand. Jack might think he’s good friends with Jill, but Jill might classify him as merely a distant acquaintance whom she merely wants to associate with for the purpose of climbing hills.

Hat tip: Sivacracy

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3 Responses

  1. KatieM says:

    There’s always the LiveJournal model – that site lets you filter entries so that only certain groups of friends (defined by you and not visible to anyone else) can see them. It’s a useful trick which could probably be expanded to sites like Facebook, although it doesn’t solve the problem of Jill assuming Jack saw the same posts she did and mentioning them, but then that’s a lot like party invites in real life.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    There is an “easy solution” for this problem: don’t join social network sites. I myself don’t. And where I do make public comments, e.g. reviews on Amazon, I don’t accept “friend” invitations.

  3. Frank says:

    another solution: Ning allows you to build special purpose social networks. I.e., one just for the “hill climbing” group, one for work, etc.