[Air-l] network density on friendster

aoir.z3z at danah.org aoir.z3z at danah.org
Thu Jul 31 16:12:02 PDT 2003

Jeremy - i'm pretty actively studying Friendster.  I'm also blogging all 
of the material that i can find: 


Aldon - i'm sorry that you don't see the value of this system.  I actually 
find it quite fascinating for the following reasons:

1) Identity presentation.  People are actively trying to figure out how to 
present themselves in a ?public? manner on this site.  They are constantly 
negotiating the context of Friendster and readjusting their presentation 

2) Articulated networks.  What does it mean to publicly articulate one's 
social network?   Who do you choose to indicate as a friend? What are the 
implications of that decision?  This is quite different than 
behavior-driven networks.

3) Group/identity play.  What does it mean to have fun with identity?  
Narratives get created around fake characters.  People value the collapse 
of the network - why?

4) Meme spread.  What is the spread of this meme across different social 
beehives?  Who find is interesting?  Why?  What do they do with it?

Now, this all assumes that "play" is an acceptable usage.  I should note
that there are plenty of people dating based on Friendster.  This is a
very useful element for people (and the intended purpose).  Another
important use is finding old friends and recognizing and interacting with
familiar strangers (see rant on my blog).

As far as use of networks, pay attention to the up-and-coming Tribe.net 
(pre-beta released this week).  This site focuses on listings instead of 
sex, something that encourages less play, but more usefulness.  Linked In 
is another one focused more on the job elements of the netowkr.

Of course, i truly believe that the problem you are seeing is because of 
the articulated network aspect of this.  I believe that it's necessary to 
focus more on behavior-driven networks if we're going to make this 
"useful."  My long term answer to solving this is to focus on 
behavior-driven networks.

[On an aside, i would not argue that 4 degrees are actually friends...  
just people in your network.

Oh, and the problem is that you want to link to Howard Dean to show
affiliation and shared interest with others connected.  Friendster doesn't
give you a better way to do this.  There's no doubt that this is a
weakness, but it does say something about people's motivations, no?]

Anyhow, i could go on and on about uses of Friendster and would *love* to
hear if others have thought about this system.


On Wed, 30 Jul 2003, Aldon Hynes wrote:

> I connected to Friendster several months ago.  Many of my friends from
> LambdaMOO and LiveJournal were on, and my network grew quite rapidly.  
> I was hoping that it would be some interesting variante of
> sixdegrees.com
> Unfortunately, I didn't find anything useful in friendster; I had better
> ways to communicate with my network, so I pretty much left it idle.
> That was, until someone from the Howard Dean campaign mentioned
> friendster.  I reconnected to find that my network was upto around 100K
> people.  I found that 'Howard Dean' is in the network.  I added him and
> I now have 165K friends.
> (As a side comment, 'God' is also on Friendster, and I believe that
> 'God' is a friend of a friend of mine.  Actually searching for God, you
> find several choices.  One of my more interesting connections to 'God'
> is
> Me <==> Howard <==> dubya <==> Jesus <==> God )
> That said, I still haven't found any good use for it, and as it has
> grown it has gotten much more unreliable.
> Aldon
> --- jeremy hunsinger <jhuns at vt.edu> wrote:
> > I just logged into Friendster again and through Matt
> > Stoner, I now have 
> > close to 5000 people in that social network, though
> > i know few of them. 
> >   Matt of course thus would have all of those minus
> > one, because I was 
> > somewhat uninterested in Friendster until i saw this
> > new number.  So 
> > thus I'm wondering if any other members of AoIR have
> > played with 
> > Friendster and what have they found?  Specifically,
> > I'm wondering if 
> > this probably fits the old sixdegrees.com cloud
> > system, and whether the 
> > core and periphery of those clouds are well defined,
> > as they were at 
> > sixdegrees.com
> > 
> > jeremy hunsinger
> > jhuns at vt.edu
> > on the ibook
> > www.cddc.vt.edu
> > www.cddc.vt.edu/jeremy
> > www.cddc.vt.edu/jeremy/blog
> > 
> > ()  ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail
> > /\                        - against microsoft
> > attachments
> > 
> > 
> > Jeremy Hunsinger
> > Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
> > () ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail
> > /\ - against microsoft attachments
> > 
> > 
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