This is why friend lists/groups/circles don’t work


Just lately* more and more of my friends have started to use Facebook more and there is one pretty interesting trend that has got me thinking about bigger things on how social networks operate — my friends are creating one FB group after another and the same happens with FB chats which are created for special occasions.

For example, FB chat room for one party’s visitors — to talk & share relatively private updates before/during the event & to share photos with other attendees afterwards. I’m in countless of those and they keep popping up like mushrooms after rain (Latvian proverb — there really are a lot of mushrooms after rain, especially in autumn). And what’s interesting — I’m completely ok with that. You see, the older chat rooms & FB groups get forgotten to make room for new ones.

That is why I’m doubting that it’s a good idea to push users to create friend lists, circles, groups or whatever. Our needs change, our relationships change, etc. Yeah, OK, work/family lists don’t change so often, but who knows how people look at those things. For example, in families there are different situations – I do not always want to share the same things with my mother that I share with my brothers, you know. It’s much easier to create new chat room in FB by selecting just the people you need than to upkeep enormous number of lists all the time (you want to be sure when sharing private photos & messages). Especially when I want to share something with just a couple of people from my mobile.

Creating friend lists and keeping them updated is a lot of work. Most messages are meant either for general public or small groups of up to 15 people. Ok, there might be a lot of exceptions, but it’s worth to think about this. 

* In Latvia we have very strong social network (word translates as “for friends”) and it is much more popular than Facebook. However, there are visible shifts in Latvian internet users behavior and more people are starting to use Facebook.