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. hi IYes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs[…] I saw Robert Scoble post about Facebook ad noseum. I think he has to get a commission or something from Facebook or maybe he got a finder’s fee for Microsoft’s recent investment, which probably made him very happy. I tried to add him as a friend but I got a notice saying he has too many friends […]
    […] recently read a post on Scobleizer ranting about Facebook’s 5,000 friends limit and it had the following quote: First, a […]

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  2. hi IYes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs[…] I saw Robert Scoble post about Facebook ad noseum. I think he has to get a commission or something from Facebook or maybe he got a finder’s fee for Microsoft’s recent investment, which probably made him very happy. I tried to add him as a friend but I got a notice saying he has too many friends […]
    […] recently read a post on Scobleizer ranting about Facebook’s 5,000 friends limit and it had the following quote: First, a […]

    im the folling one lol loohflgkg
    gjopjoj wrong time it is 5;46 pm caall me later loser lololollll please talk to me lol 5;47 lol kk bye i hate my bro kkkkkklklkklllkllkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  3. hi IYes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs[…] I saw Robert Scoble post about Facebook ad noseum. I think he has to get a commission or something from Facebook or maybe he got a finder’s fee for Microsoft’s recent investment, which probably made him very happy. I tried to add him as a friend but I got a notice saying he has too many friends […]
    […] recently read a post on Scobleizer ranting about Facebook’s 5,000 friends limit and it had the following quote: First, a […]

    Pingback by FacebookTalk.com – Facebook Hacks, Tricks, Tips, ASCII, and Apps – All in one blog! — October 15, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

    […] constantly harping on Facebook for not giving you the ability to add more than 5,000 friends. Every day, you’ve got at least one post complaining about Facebook capping your friend limit. […]

    Pingback by Dear Robert Scoble « the j. botter weblog — October 15, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    […] everything above) famously hit Facebook’s 5000 friend limit and has recently revealed that he is not alone in this milestone, that thousands have hit the limit (now, can you see why Facebook is worth $15 […]

    Pingback by Life & Scalability — October 15, 2007 @ 6

    Pingback by entrepreMusings » Why I Finally

  4. hi IYes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs[…] I saw Robert Scoble post about Facebook ad noseum. I think he has to get a commission or something from Facebook or maybe he got a finder’s fee for Microsoft’s recent investment, which probably made him very happy. I tried to add him as a friend but I got a notice saying he has too many friends […]
    […] recently read a post on Scobleizer ranting about Facebook’s 5,000 friends limit and it had the following quote: First, a […]

    Pingback by FacebookTalk.com – Facebook Hacks, Tricks, Tips, ASCII, and Apps – All in one blog! — October 15, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

    […] constantly harping on Facebook for not giving you the ability to add more than 5,000 friends. Every day, you’ve got at least one post complaining about Facebook capping your friend limit. […]

    Pingback by Dear Robert Scoble « the j. botter weblog — October 15, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    […] everything above) famously hit Facebook’s 5000 friend limit and has recently revealed that he is not alone in this milestone, that thousands have hit the limit (now, can you see why Facebook is worth $15 […]

    Pingback by Life & Scalability — October 15, 2007 @ 6

    Pingback by entrepreMusings » Why I Finally

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  8. is this about nonfiction or dont need friends book please tell me that or I ‘ll find out please thank you I like this book is it fiction i hate fiction I like non fiction dont give me books are fiction thank you my name is sapana I will save this page thank you for me conct me please and thank you I have a book that is owen &mzee i’m doing a project about at home today is tued=sday 27 2007 please contct me i will come tommorww too see you at tommorw wednesday 28 thank you contact me sapana bye see you later sapanaa fadg334@hotmail.com bye sappana

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  10. The main problem is that we’re trying to manage our contacts lists *online* None of these services require us to be using a client/server model via webpages. Last I checked, I had plenty of of CPU capability to handle much more than 5000 contacts.

    The other side effect of this phenomenon is the outright extravertedly public way it all happens. My friends are none of your business, even if you are my friend.

  11. The main problem is that we’re trying to manage our contacts lists *online* None of these services require us to be using a client/server model via webpages. Last I checked, I had plenty of of CPU capability to handle much more than 5000 contacts.

    The other side effect of this phenomenon is the outright extravertedly public way it all happens. My friends are none of your business, even if you are my friend.

  12. Pingback: Life & Scalability
  13. Limits are good.

    There are millions of places to be public on the internet and build relationships. Your own blog is one.

    Facebook isn’t an address book — its design is to pipe “friend” activity back to you in a very active way. If you’re pushing 10,000 contact as you claim some do, I highly doubt those people are seeking pushed information back to them about those 10,000 at the micro level Facebook is designed to facilitate.

    Yes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs.

  14. Limits are good.

    There are millions of places to be public on the internet and build relationships. Your own blog is one.

    Facebook isn’t an address book — its design is to pipe “friend” activity back to you in a very active way. If you’re pushing 10,000 contact as you claim some do, I highly doubt those people are seeking pushed information back to them about those 10,000 at the micro level Facebook is designed to facilitate.

    Yes, “friends” are not only friends, but they’re more than social bookmarks, too. And Facebook is more than just a place to promote yourself and your other blogs.

  15. One of the reasons I DON’T use MySpace is the fact that it’s a repository for these huge marketing pushes. I want something that is smaller and more personal. That connects me with just the people that I have in my network and isn’t inundated with spam. I have stuck with Friendster for so long because my network has remained small — although I was getting too much spammy friend contacts there for awhile.

    And anyone that collects 5,000 business cards at a face-to-face meeting either isn’t remembering your face. Or isn’t someone that I want to know or do business with. Who actually likes a networker. Networker=tool.

    Social groups are meant to be small. It’s not a contest to see how many contacts you can amass. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s about quality over quantity.

    At least it is with me. I want to know that when I’m making contact with someone that I’m one of a handful. Not one of thousands. I value the contact more and I value the implied judgement of worthiness that comes with it.

  16. One of the reasons I DON’T use MySpace is the fact that it’s a repository for these huge marketing pushes. I want something that is smaller and more personal. That connects me with just the people that I have in my network and isn’t inundated with spam. I have stuck with Friendster for so long because my network has remained small — although I was getting too much spammy friend contacts there for awhile.

    And anyone that collects 5,000 business cards at a face-to-face meeting either isn’t remembering your face. Or isn’t someone that I want to know or do business with. Who actually likes a networker. Networker=tool.

    Social groups are meant to be small. It’s not a contest to see how many contacts you can amass. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s about quality over quantity.

    At least it is with me. I want to know that when I’m making contact with someone that I’m one of a handful. Not one of thousands. I value the contact more and I value the implied judgement of worthiness that comes with it.

  17. Note that probably most of these “people” who have thousands of contacts on Facebook are spammers who use it to promote all kinds of “money making” schemes

  18. Note that probably most of these “people” who have thousands of contacts on Facebook are spammers who use it to promote all kinds of “money making” schemes

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