Who’s your friend?

On MySpace there is a user called MH1. As it turns out he is a guy that I know from high school. As of today he has 4013 “friends”. I’ve got 24. I’ve been using friendster longer and I have 41 there.

What cirteria do you use for adding someone as your “friend” in a social network tool?

MH1 and I clearly have different criteria, but we also have different reasons for being on MySpace. MH1 is promoting his music and I’m just trying to keep touch with friends. What implications does this have on the network as a whole? As far as I can tell the is only one type of edge on the MySpace network graph: “is friends with”. So if I’m looking for 2nd degree connections this isn’t really helpful if MH1’s graph is unintentionally trying to store “is friends with” and “is a fan of his band” connections.

Maybe on MySpace it doesn’t matter.

But what about on LinkedIn? I’ve gotten a few requests for people to connect on LinkedIn after having met briefly once and I’ve debated it. Then I read an article in Business 2.0

“LinkedIn is a very efficient tool when you’re trying to target passive candidates, people who aren’t actively searching for a job,” Gutmacher says. “For the niche that I am recruiting, usually the mid- to senior-level software and development engineers, they’re all there.”

People like Gutmacher are part of a controversial group within LinkedIn called “promiscuous linkers.” The person with the most connections is San Jose-based recruiter Ron Bates, who proudly trumpets more than 28,000 direct connections on his profile.

How does someone have 28,000 direct connections? I think that this is another edge labeling issue, and that for sights like LinkedIn its even more important to get this right. I’ve accepted those LinkedIn invites that I mentioned before, but if I was contacted by that person in the future I’d have no more reason to talk to them than if they just sent me a note.

If LinkedIn had a “met once at a conference” link as opposed to a “i really respect this person” link would you use it? Would it be useful?

What about MySpace or Friendster? What other kinds of links would you want there?

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