I don’t care about friends, I care about interests

I thought people had accepted that Google+ isn’t a Facebook clone, and more importantly, understood what Google+ actually is, or is capable of, but no, clearly not.

I hate, HATE having conversations on Twitter. It was fine at once, but to see a stream I already envelope being flooded by back and forth conversation that is so difficult to craft and wordsmith with the character limit, pains me greatly. 

– Me, two months ago

I wasted the afternoon in an asinine discussion, trying to convey social and interest graphs amidst workshops and meetings, and realised halfway through that I shouldn’t have bothered in the first place.

Facebook is for your friends, Twitter is for your interests

You know why I use Twitter, why I use Google+, and why I don’t use Facebook? I have no desire to converse with my friends on that medium, unless it’s in relation to my interests. Sure, I dabble in inane chatter every now and then, but it’s a small percentage of the time, and I sure as hell don’t need a social network devoted to it, especially one with a purely symmetric sharing model.

I email my friends, I talk to them on the phone, I see them. I don’t need to use Facebook.

I love Twitter. It’s an amazing service, and an information resource that enables consumption and sharing like no other. I use Twitter Lists heavily, and filter my information by my interests. Relevant information from people or blogs I want to receive it from. The asymmetric, mostly-public model works.

What Twitter doesn’t do well, is allow for conversation or discussion easily, based on said interests, and based on that same social graph. 

I am entrenched in the tech world, and read about it every chance I get. Right now, Google+ is where the tech bloggers are camping out. They are devoting huge amounts of time into the service, and I would be an idiot to miss out on being part of the conversation.

What’s more, you’re leveraging THEIR social graphs in these conversations. Scoble or Brogan or MG Siegler post an article, and the discussions are absolutely amazing. You participate in it, and end up conversing with others that are equally interested, and that you have common followers with. You simply can’t do this on Twitter. 

It’s the same reason I love and use Reddit. Reddit is even better, with its already-created communities of interest. There’s no ambiguity or self-consciousness in whether you’re shouting to EVERYONE about something only a few may be interested in. Google+ goes a way in solving this, by its Circles, and a lot of my posts of late I limit to some extent based on who I think the information is relevant to.

I don’t like doing this though. It’s clear and simple in some cases, but others, you still feel like shouting to everyone, and maybe there’s that off chance someone you wouldn’t have thought to include will be interested. This juxtaposed with the responsibility you might feel on Google+, since Circles is encouraged, is an interesting conundrum. 

Google+ is flexible, and can no doubt be used in a number of other ways; even like Facebook if one wants, and its ease of sharing and privacy are having a positive impact on Facebook and changes it’s making of late, if anything. Again though, a lot of people on Facebook are wondering why the hell they’d move to Google+ if it’s seemingly the same thing to them without their friends. Fair enough. If it doesn’t fill a need or want, don’t use it. For bonus points, don’t be naive and think it’s the same thing, because it’s not.

Back to Reddit. I go to /r/Android or /r/Movies, and I post an Android link or a movie trailer, and if it’s not interesting to the community, fine, it won’t be voted up. Chances are, it’s already likely there, and if so, you participate in a discussion with like-minded individuals. Either way, you win. Reddit again, is a service I cherish a lot more for its users and comments than the links per se.

Reddit is impersonal though, and practically anonyomous, which as you’d expect brings its own, unique challenges.

There’s still an allure in knowing someone, regardless of if you’ve ever met them, but based on whether you share common interests, seeing what they say every day, and building that relationship, however asymmetrically that may be. Hey, maybe one day, they’ll turn out to be your friend.


6 thoughts on “I don’t care about friends, I care about interests

  1. c0uP says:

    Well, it’s what I said in the post, and the specific relation to social networks…"Sure, I dabble in inane chatter every now and then, but it’s a small percentage of the time, and I sure as hell don’t need a social network devoted to it…I email my friends, I talk to them on the phone, I see them. I don’t need to use Facebook."

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