Twitter Ends Friendship

In a move that should rock the ‘social network space’, Twitter just removed the vague, confusing, juvenile label of ‘friend‘, replacing it with the more descriptive ‘following1.

Aside from the label being more accurate 2 it creates a nice symmetry with ‘followers‘. You and I could say ‘friend‘ is the overlap between the two, but as Biz states, it’s not for a server to define.

“After careful consideration and user testing, we are no longer going to define people as your ‘friends.’ – Biz

The /following and /followers listing is also nicely cleaned up. Insted of the confusing ‘add‘ and ‘follow‘ links, ‘follow‘ is only offered for the people that you’re not (but are you). Within /follows a radio button specifies if you’ll get ‘notifications3.

Now, if we could finally kill off ‘user‘.

1. As of this writing, the URLs have yet to update.
2. Only ‘stalking‘ would be more accurate.
3 Still not a great label, I say ‘stalking‘ is appropriate here.

Robert Scoble outlines how to be his “friend” (Hint: live in Facebook) that’s after this childish outburst:

“He didn’t add me as a friend to his Facebook network…..they wouldn’t get access to my walled garden.”

Oh no, do you mean to say your feelings toward someone else aren’t reciprocal? Welcome to being an adult.

Steve Rubel laments the changing definition of “friend”.

The current usage of ‘friend’ in these ‘social networks’ is simplistic, heavy-handed, and juvenile. Even in IRL, relationships are more nuanced and asymmetrical (e.g. “fuck buddy”, “stalker”, “BFF”) – if these networks want to be relevant in a decade, they need to reflect the actual relationships. But then, most adults don’t need training wheels on their bikes or chaperones when they go out.

2 thoughts on “Twitter Ends Friendship

  1. All I can say is I’m honored to follow you! This is clearly the most important, confusing and inflamed subject area in social networking I can think of.

    The congruent thread of my work typically involves whacking people upside the head to get them out of their cubes and talking to their peers.

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