The you-don’t-need-more-friends lobby

If you read my comments on the last post you’ll see the “Scoble-you-don’t-need-more-friends” lobby.

Someone asked why I keep pointing out the 5,000 friends limit. Why? Because I still haven’t gotten through and I’m still getting pushback from the lobby. So, let’s try one more time.

First, a “friend” in Facebook is NOT a “real friend.” (Let’s define “real friend” for now as someone who you’d invite over to your house for dinner). In social networking software a “friend” is someone you want in your social network. Period. Nothing more. The fact that people assume that you should only have “real friends” in your social network is just plain wrong. Do you only hand out business cards to “real friends?” In your contact list in Outlook or Gmail do you only have “real friends?” In your phone book do you only have “real friends?” I don’t. I have some people that I talk with all the time on my phone who I’ve never even met. Heck, I remember meeting Donncha O’Caoimh in Cork, Ireland and he kept asking me about what Matt Mullenweg was like. I thought that was funny because Donncha worked for Matt yet had never met him up to that point (Matt is the founder of Automattic, which is the company that makes the blog service Im using here).

Second, Facebook is NOT just a social networking tool. So, any limitation it has limits all the other functions. We’ll go into those in a second.

Third, Facebook’s engineers tell me that the 5,000 friend limit is there because their engines have scaling problems. In fact, I’ve noticed parts of Facebook slowed down for me at about 3,000 friends. Also lots of stuff broke and didn’t work for me (videos, for instance, didn’t work until just recently for me).

Fourth, it +is+ possible to get thousands of names in your contact list. My friend, Buzz Bruggeman, isn’t “famous” yet has 12,000 names in his Outlook contact list. He used to be a lawyer, now is CEO of ActiveWords, and is one of the world’s best networkers. Imagine you tell him he can’t put more than 5,000 names into his contact list.

Fifth, just because YOU don’t use a system in a hard-core way doesn’t mean that it should be designed for YOU. Imagine a pro camera being designed for someone who only takes pictures three times a year (which is pretty average behavior, actually). Facebook claims they are a “social utility.” Yet there are walls that it has that limit that utility for many users. Facebook employees tell me there are thousands of people who have gotten to 5,000 contacts so I’m not alone.

So, why does this matter?

Well, because inside Facebook is a competitor for these three sites:

1. Flickr. Facebook has its own photo sharing system.
2. Upcoming. Facebook has its own event sharing system.
3. YouTube. Facebook has its own video sharing system.

So, imagine that Flickr only let 5,000 people see your photos? Or that YouTube only let 5,000 watch your videos? Wouldn’t you be pissed? Wouldn’t there be massive protests?

Absolutely. Yet we accept this crappy software engineering because of the “you-don’t-need-more-friends” lobby.

The hell with the lobby.

192 thoughts on “The you-don’t-need-more-friends lobby

  1. lol “the hell with the lobby” ha! I like your style of writing man! It's pretty dumb..this limit because I;m networking heavy as I'm restarting my career as an entertainment writer after a 3 yr break. Things have changed a lot in those few years and now I see networking limits? The hell?! What gives!

  2. lol “the hell with the lobby” ha! I like your style of writing man! It's pretty dumb..this limit because I;m networking heavy as I'm restarting my career as an entertainment writer after a 3 yr break. Things have changed a lot in those few years and now I see networking limits? The hell?! What gives!

  3. actually website such facebook and flickr which has implemented web 2.0 hierarchy int their scripting are well more easy to use and attract for new user in the social network service (sns)

  4. actually website such facebook and flickr which has implemented web 2.0 hierarchy int their scripting are well more easy to use and attract for new user in the social network service (sns)

  5. Facebook was never supposed to be used as a business tool. You compare it to the phonebook and business cards which is ignorant. Facebook started out as an easy way for students to keep in contact with one another. It was never meant to be abused for spamming or as a way to stroke anyone’s GIANT ego by seeing if one could con 5000 (mostly total strangers) to add to your “friend” list. As for me, I would NEVER request to be added to a person’s friend list if I didn’t have some sort of connection to that person. Sorry Ms. 5000 but you don’t get any sympathy from me. Sounds like you need another hobby!

  6. Facebook was never supposed to be used as a business tool. You compare it to the phonebook and business cards which is ignorant. Facebook started out as an easy way for students to keep in contact with one another. It was never meant to be abused for spamming or as a way to stroke anyone’s GIANT ego by seeing if one could con 5000 (mostly total strangers) to add to your “friend” list. As for me, I would NEVER request to be added to a person’s friend list if I didn’t have some sort of connection to that person. Sorry Ms. 5000 but you don’t get any sympathy from me. Sounds like you need another hobby!

  7. Ahh mac d, so you’re the one doing all the inviting, ha ha, just kidding.
    Haven’t been here in a while, but I am just a few hundred short of 5,000 myself and the big disadvantage is that many facebook applications that are using the sample facebook php code won’t let me in to interact or play.

    Its because I have to many friends, and when the php code that facebook gave everyone to use, goes out to my friends list, the size of the list causes the arrays to bomb hence very few applications allow me to play.

    Facebook themselves must have seen this and fixed it in a few areas, but the faulty array code is still sitting in the sample code that they gave everyone else to use.

    I have seen the code and seen it throw errors on apache/php irrespective of how much memory you reasonably give each php processes.

    So, currently and for the past 10 months or more, there are technical limitations when one starts to approach even 4000 friends.

  8. Ahh mac d, so you’re the one doing all the inviting, ha ha, just kidding.
    Haven’t been here in a while, but I am just a few hundred short of 5,000 myself and the big disadvantage is that many facebook applications that are using the sample facebook php code won’t let me in to interact or play.

    Its because I have to many friends, and when the php code that facebook gave everyone to use, goes out to my friends list, the size of the list causes the arrays to bomb hence very few applications allow me to play.

    Facebook themselves must have seen this and fixed it in a few areas, but the faulty array code is still sitting in the sample code that they gave everyone else to use.

    I have seen the code and seen it throw errors on apache/php irrespective of how much memory you reasonably give each php processes.

    So, currently and for the past 10 months or more, there are technical limitations when one starts to approach even 4000 friends.

  9. i have also noticed facebook slowing down when i hit 3000 friends, its so slow its near impossible to invite people to an event

  10. i have also noticed facebook slowing down when i hit 3000 friends, its so slow its near impossible to invite people to an event

  11. Late to commenting on this Robert, but I came across this post of your while looking for information on this subject ( as usual). Turns out that some of the celebrities we have worked with on Rabbit Bites are unable to “friend” anyone. Most of them get too many requests and the accounts lock up. It’s dumb.

    Buzz is awesome btw and we’ll be doing a post soon about Activewords. Activewords blows away it’s competition in many ways.

  12. Late to commenting on this Robert, but I came across this post of your while looking for information on this subject ( as usual). Turns out that some of the celebrities we have worked with on Rabbit Bites are unable to “friend” anyone. Most of them get too many requests and the accounts lock up. It’s dumb.

    Buzz is awesome btw and we’ll be doing a post soon about Activewords. Activewords blows away it’s competition in many ways.

  13. I have almost 1,700 friends already and have a dozen groups with about 20,000 more friends ( not all unique )

    Scoble is not alone here, I have a dozen group creators and other **friends** whom are nearly at 3500 friends.

    The fact that Scoble has/had 5000 and was one of about a thousand users at the limit, doesn’t mean that there aren’t 20-50,000 of us clawing up the same ladder at our own pace.

    I stopped personally adding friends that I didn’t know directly in life, when I had about 260, since then people have added me for their own myriad reasons.

    I expect my 1700 to grow to about 3-4,000 in a few months.

    The more profound and interesting things you write, is the more likely that certain types/groups of people will be attracted to your way of thinking and simply add you as a friend.

    If 10-15,000 people think they would like to add me as a friend, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?

  14. I have almost 1,700 friends already and have a dozen groups with about 20,000 more friends ( not all unique )

    Scoble is not alone here, I have a dozen group creators and other **friends** whom are nearly at 3500 friends.

    The fact that Scoble has/had 5000 and was one of about a thousand users at the limit, doesn’t mean that there aren’t 20-50,000 of us clawing up the same ladder at our own pace.

    I stopped personally adding friends that I didn’t know directly in life, when I had about 260, since then people have added me for their own myriad reasons.

    I expect my 1700 to grow to about 3-4,000 in a few months.

    The more profound and interesting things you write, is the more likely that certain types/groups of people will be attracted to your way of thinking and simply add you as a friend.

    If 10-15,000 people think they would like to add me as a friend, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?

  15. I don’t know why people get so hung up over this. If you want 5000 friends, so what? If you want to ‘keep it real’ with people you really know, then that’s fine too.

    Personally I’m looking for Whale status so I can make new friends that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do without the web, so friend me now!

  16. I don’t know why people get so hung up over this. If you want 5000 friends, so what? If you want to ‘keep it real’ with people you really know, then that’s fine too.

    Personally I’m looking for Whale status so I can make new friends that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do without the web, so friend me now!

  17. First time my profile was deleted,which was sometime last year, it was because of too many friend request.

    Recently, it has been deleted due to sending/recieving too many messages.

    Unfortunately, neither of which has been reinstated.

    Should I just create a new page and start all over again? Or fight to have my profiles operative once again?

  18. First time my profile was deleted,which was sometime last year, it was because of too many friend request.

    Recently, it has been deleted due to sending/recieving too many messages.

    Unfortunately, neither of which has been reinstated.

    Should I just create a new page and start all over again? Or fight to have my profiles operative once again?

  19. wilt chamberlain slept with over 20,000 women. if he wanted to use facebook to keep track of his friends, he would have been screwed (literally)

  20. wilt chamberlain slept with over 20,000 women. if he wanted to use facebook to keep track of his friends, he would have been screwed (literally)

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