Social network badges & opportunities

The title of this post links to the page pinged by a Facebook badge I just created. I’m considering adding these to our contact pages (http://www.imetrick.com/ and http://www.imetmikeprinci.com/). Are these useful to anyone? I’m not sure — I think it depends greatly on whether you have a social networking strategy (even if that strategy is just keeping in touch with more people). This is what it looks like as an image:

Richard J Colosimo's Facebook profile

It seems to me that people are still missing a little bit of the secret sauce in the use and interplay between social networking sites and the parts of the web that live outside these sites. I suppose that someone could do all their blogging, picture posting, and everything inside facebook, which would probably make some sense to facebook, but it doesn’t work for most people I know. They’ve already done blogs of their own (I work on three right now as it is) and compartmentalize their lives a bit more than any of these sites currently allow.

For example, the original sixdegrees.com site (IIRC) more explicitly recognized that there is a difference in depth and closeness of the relationship that doesn’t really affect whether you want to hear about the person or be in some level of contact. But there is a difference between family members, close friends, friends of friends, and business colleagues and former colleagues. Why should facebook treat them all the same?

People I worked with on deals a few years ago may be great people and very friendly, and some level of relationship is welcome to us both. But I imagine that facebook’s faux-friend feed filter doesn’t really do the job as well as it could. Why not interpolate an algorithm that measures how closely you relate to the person? Spoke did a similar thing early on (back when its graphical depictions and interface dramatically overwhelmed its peers, and it still beats anything that you see today).

Speaking of early generation tools, why doesn’t facebook take over the function that planetall.com provided, that of universally updating first-person contact information and spreading it? That would put Plaxo out of business in probably a week, which would not only be payback for all those spammy messages they used to send but personally please me because they send me messages but don’t recognize my email address when I try to unsubscribe or register or find a lost password!

TIP: unless your internal system is really bulletproof, it is not brand dilution to outsource mailing list management to a quality third party. There are several companies whose footers I don’t mind seeing on mailing list emails. Knowing that I can more easily unsubscribe makes me more willing to put up with a marginally useful email rather than putting me over the edge and making me decide to unsubscribe now.

QUESTION: how many of you actually unsubscribe from mailing lists rather than just hit spam? I’ve tried on multiple occasions to unsubscribe from the Palm newsletter that goes to one of my gmail accounts, but it keeps coming back. Now, it’s spam. Does Palm know (or care, which is a different problem, meaning that it really is spam) how many of its emails are spam? Doesn’t that dilute marketing effectiveness and send the wrong signals to the sales force?

WANTED: developer interested in social networks and visualization to collaborate on graphical interface tools that help people manage social networks in a realistic degrees-style method rather than an unrealistic, 1990’s flat-file list of friends. I’ve got ideas and there are precedents that can be improved on.

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