Sunday, February 14, 2010

Google Buzz Kills Symmetric Social Networks (facebook)

Or, how to post a facebook comment on a post by a friend of a friend that appears with no comment link - but never-the-less appears on your wall.

Hmm... No Comment link :(

I've done something like this before - in a FilterBlogs post entitled "Re-Tweeting a facebook Post". Facebook is a symmetric network, people connected lineally; thus when I friended "Nick Danger" (and he friended me back due to an esoteric connection with-in a "Firesign Theatre" meme), posts he has commented in, or 'liked' now appear on my home page, BUT - I can't comment on them because I'm not friends with the original author (in the example above), David Scofield!

This is an example of a limitation of a symmetric social network. Because it connects series of people in a line and also groups them in defined networks - the borders of these networks cannot be crossed with out a 'passport', a friend request - approved.

In Twitter or Google's new Buzz, on the other hand, I can follow anyone I like and they can follow me back, or not - their tweets will still appear on my time line and I can re-tweet or comment on their tweets. They can see those actions, and they can respond if they want without having to make a commitment to follow me then, there after, or at all.

The 'follow' connection in Twitter only enables that persons tweets onto your time-line feed. All other connectivities in Twitter are non-lineal, flexible and inclusive - rather than exclusive. All connectivity relies on tags - rather than exclusive networks separated by virtual walls, as in facebook. As a result, Twitter links gets completely crawled by search engine bots and listed in search results, further asymmetrically connecting particular 'Tweetmeme' to the world. Google Buzz has enabled some tags and search bots are allowed to crawl all over Buzz. (Ewe!)

Asymmetry makes for a much more fluid community. I'm always seeing new people in my time line in Twitter. They come to me via re-tweets and responses to tweets by people I follow. I can then re-tweet, respond, or start a new conversation. If we get along, I may follow the new person and they may follow me back. And so it spreads, naturally.

It's like modern love, not so many silly rules. It's modern (like, so this week) social networking - and it's much closer to the natural behaviour of human beings in real-world friend networks.

Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media explains Asymmetric Networking in a piece I've just read entitled "Goodreads vs Twitter: The Benefits of Asymmetric Follow". I linked to it from another post by O'Reilly on Asymmetric Networking, "Google Buzz re-invents Gmail".

So... getting back to my initial point, This is how I post a comment on a post I'm not allowed to post a comment on: I'm going to publish this piece, and then republish it in facebook. Hopefully Nick Danger (third eye) will see it and post a comment; then David Scofield will see it and my mission, complete. :)

Firesign Theatre, Nick Danger (Third Eye) Part 1

Has any one noticed a contrarian anywhere around here?

Quick! Hand me those pliers!


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