#1 Feature request (for me) for Facebook

September 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm 10 comments

Let’s face it, not all friends are created equal in terms of what I want to share and how I want to communicate.  I would really like multiple profiles and profile preferences managed from a single place.    I don’t want to live in multiple social networks…meaning Linkedin for business and Facebook for social.  I really just want one place to live and services in and out that allow me to communicate and share content, ideas and presence data in ways that make context sense.  Let’s say my daughter was in a dance recital yesterday and I wanted to share photos or videos.  I’m pretty sure my entire network doesn’t want to see this – nor do I want to share that kind of info that broadly.  Likewise, most of my personal friends and family could care less about my latest blog post about social media.

What I’d like is the ability to easily create, manage and publish to a variety of “friend populations” that I control.  The set up for me might look something like this:

  • Group 1:  All approved “friends” in my network”
  • Group 2:  “Friends” I approve but don’t really know
  • Group 3:  Business associates (all)
  • Group 4:  Business associates (within the company I work)
  • Group 5:  Business associates (external to the company I work)
  • Group 6:  Personal friends and family
  • Group 7:  Family
  • Group 8:  Fully custom 1
  • Group 9:  Fully custom 2

Then, give me the ability to configure (with easy multi-select on publish) who gets access to what content, ideas and/or presence data.  Admittedly this adds complexity to the system and in general, complexity is not good, but I think this would make Facebook even more of a personal platform for business, entertainment and social networking.

What do you think?


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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeremy Epstein  |  September 9, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    You are totally right on about this. Between LinkedIn, Facebook, and Outlook, I have a strategy, but it’s not coherent or simple. Heck, Plaxo is a part of this as well.

    A personal FRM (Friend Relationship Mgmt) platform…

  • 2. Phil Barrett  |  September 9, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    You are bang on with this. There has been some discussion around “identity 2.0” which i covered in my blog around consolidation of online identities.

    Your driver’s license is good anywhere….imagine having to fill out a profile sheet everytime you needed to validate who you were in the real world?

    Plaxo and others are starting to offering services that allow you to share or port info between networks…but we are a ways away from creating a universal avatar or profile

  • 3. theoverflowster  |  September 10, 2007 at 4:00 am

    I don’t even use Facebook and this makes sense. If it’s that restrictive I might not even bother.

  • 4. Nestor  |  September 10, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Yes, Facebook should implement Orkut’s model for friendship taxonomy. Once you get the request you classify it based on how close the person is to you.

  • 5. Dave Morehouse  |  September 11, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I agree, Sean, that such features do need to become part of a coherent online social experience. I suspect that LI will gravitate toward FB and vice versa in important ways. Ideally, I’d like to be able to leverage the underlying services, the one within the other, or completely apart from either, to use and combine the features that make sense to me and how I want to structure my online social world. For now, it seems we’ve got to spend lots of time in ‘due diligence’, learning how these things operate, where they have value to offer, what we really need and like about them, etc. Things are still quite early yet, it seems to me.

  • 6. Patrick Plawner  |  September 12, 2007 at 7:10 am

    True !

    Which community web service do you find the closest to this approach ?
    There is a strong need for sure. Now that I did grow my network on Linkedin, and windows live, etc… Giving them up to move to a new one would be painful.

    Maybe a new service to pointers where you could just keep all your existing web services and (business, family, Blogs, Forum, Pictures, etc…) and just point to them according to categories and visible to groups of people you would manage.

    The need is absolutely here, no doubt !! Everyone would use this, me first !!!!

  • 7. Ryan  |  September 13, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    I’m skeptical that 90% of the online population will use something like this. I really think that those of us who have an engineering and/or product mindset (especially those of us who are community pioneers) quickly lose touch with the sophistication and attention span of the bulk of online web users (even the semi-savvy ones). Attending in-person usability studies and looking at the metrics on our company’s web site always reminds me of this.

    That being said, I think a more robust and configurable (and cross-“platform”) permissions system is essential for power users… the “connectors” in online social communities if you will… and, while we are a fickle bunch, it’s important to keep us happy!

  • 8. Mark  |  September 21, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    This would be great. Part of what holds me back on Facebook is that I don’t want to share everything with everyone. Thus, the people I do really know and want to share with get generic stuff that they don’t care about. In that case, what’s the piont of putting a lot of effort into keeping you page up to date?

  • 9. Andre Da Costa  |  October 9, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    I wish the Windows Live Team would add some of those same principles to the Friends feature on Windows Live Space.

  • 10. Sean ODriscoll  |  October 10, 2007 at 3:23 pm



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