Comments

  1. Well, _just_ having a profile with that many friends and nothing more, yes, that could very well be seen as insecure, but backing that up with more than just the facebook page? I do not think that the answer is as simple as the quote makes it.

    (I also would like to see the questions behind that; because depending of that, it might explain why they get to this solution.)

  2. Well, _just_ having a profile with that many friends and nothing more, yes, that could very well be seen as insecure, but backing that up with more than just the facebook page? I do not think that the answer is as simple as the quote makes it.

    (I also would like to see the questions behind that; because depending of that, it might explain why they get to this solution.)

  3. I’m a whale, but there’s a purpose behind it. It’s not about social status but it’s my business rolodex.

    My ability to communicate, learn from my network, and reach to them has grown immense.

    Although I’m happily employed, it’s safe to say I have nearly unlimited business opportunities, just a few clicks away.

  4. I’m a whale, but there’s a purpose behind it. It’s not about social status but it’s my business rolodex.

    My ability to communicate, learn from my network, and reach to them has grown immense.

    Although I’m happily employed, it’s safe to say I have nearly unlimited business opportunities, just a few clicks away.

  5. Facebook provides the academic researchers with an enormous amount of data. Data which wasn’t available at such low transaction costs before.

    While this sounds great I cannot help but feel that the researchers are really only observing a very small part of human interaction. People do crazy things on Facebook. Mostly because it is so easy to do crazy things. The costs of interaction are zero with massive amounts of waist as a result. Facebook slamming, profile rating, spam, hatemails, the worst in human behavior arises when people interact on-line. Does that mean that teens are a-social beings? I doubt it. I am sure that teens are slowly getting used to a different meaning of the word friendship in different contexts. But I also think that in the physical world these teens aren’t so different from an older generation when it comes to human interaction. We are still bound by basic social rules in which tell us how to respond to another person. We like to interact, love, care, listen, be heard.

    But due to technological possibilities we often tend to forget about human nature. Technology provides us capabilities, and because of that these capabilities will be deployed. It is easy to forget about human nature, about human needs when we design all these great new services. The sexier the technology, the more easily we forget about the most important actor, namely the user.

    So you might be insecure Robert, but then again, these scientists are really only watching and analyzing you through a fishbowl. So they might just be wrong as well ;-)

    http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/2007/12/17/observing-social-behavior-through-a-fishbowl/

  6. Facebook provides the academic researchers with an enormous amount of data. Data which wasn’t available at such low transaction costs before.

    While this sounds great I cannot help but feel that the researchers are really only observing a very small part of human interaction. People do crazy things on Facebook. Mostly because it is so easy to do crazy things. The costs of interaction are zero with massive amounts of waist as a result. Facebook slamming, profile rating, spam, hatemails, the worst in human behavior arises when people interact on-line. Does that mean that teens are a-social beings? I doubt it. I am sure that teens are slowly getting used to a different meaning of the word friendship in different contexts. But I also think that in the physical world these teens aren’t so different from an older generation when it comes to human interaction. We are still bound by basic social rules in which tell us how to respond to another person. We like to interact, love, care, listen, be heard.

    But due to technological possibilities we often tend to forget about human nature. Technology provides us capabilities, and because of that these capabilities will be deployed. It is easy to forget about human nature, about human needs when we design all these great new services. The sexier the technology, the more easily we forget about the most important actor, namely the user.

    So you might be insecure Robert, but then again, these scientists are really only watching and analyzing you through a fishbowl. So they might just be wrong as well ;-)

    http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/2007/12/17/observing-social-behavior-through-a-fishbowl/

  7. Theres nothing wrong with thousands of Facebook friends. It only means that people respect you and want to be apart of your life in some way or another.

  8. Theres nothing wrong with thousands of Facebook friends. It only means that people respect you and want to be apart of your life in some way or another.

  9. Well, I don’t know about this insecurity-crap, but I’ve always said less is more, when it comes to networking: meaning real, true contacts, not collected data records.

    Robert, you are an exception, for being a Web-celebrity and so are you, Jeremiah: you have thousands of fans / followers, not regular “friends”.

  10. Well, I don’t know about this insecurity-crap, but I’ve always said less is more, when it comes to networking: meaning real, true contacts, not collected data records.

    Robert, you are an exception, for being a Web-celebrity and so are you, Jeremiah: you have thousands of fans / followers, not regular “friends”.

  11. I think the study might be confusing insecurity with narcicism. It’s not the fact that you have 5000 friends and more waiting. Hooray for you. It’s the fact that almost a week doesn’t go by where you feel the need to remind the world of it. no one cares

  12. I think the study might be confusing insecurity with narcicism. It’s not the fact that you have 5000 friends and more waiting. Hooray for you. It’s the fact that almost a week doesn’t go by where you feel the need to remind the world of it. no one cares

  13. It seems that the common tendency to borrow a lexicon from something existing is the root cause of much of this confusion.

    Nobody really has 1000 or more “friends” in the tradition sense of the word yet that is the lexicon of Facebook. Having a “follower” or being a “follower” sounds positively creepy like you are about to swallow the Kool Aid or are stalking or being stalked, yet that is Twitter’s borrowed lexicon. People that are labelled “evangelists” really gets under my skin as well — recalling faith tents, faith healers, speaking in “tongues” but it is a title and function that Apple, Guy Kawasaki and others of that era popularized and has stuck.

    Somehow it always seems easier to convey a new idea by appropriating an existing lexicon. This is not something new in the English language (or any language for that matter). It always creates some confusion during the crossover phase, maybe not as much as when a completely new lexicon is created though, so I doubt the practice will end.

  14. It seems that the common tendency to borrow a lexicon from something existing is the root cause of much of this confusion.

    Nobody really has 1000 or more “friends” in the tradition sense of the word yet that is the lexicon of Facebook. Having a “follower” or being a “follower” sounds positively creepy like you are about to swallow the Kool Aid or are stalking or being stalked, yet that is Twitter’s borrowed lexicon. People that are labelled “evangelists” really gets under my skin as well — recalling faith tents, faith healers, speaking in “tongues” but it is a title and function that Apple, Guy Kawasaki and others of that era popularized and has stuck.

    Somehow it always seems easier to convey a new idea by appropriating an existing lexicon. This is not something new in the English language (or any language for that matter). It always creates some confusion during the crossover phase, maybe not as much as when a completely new lexicon is created though, so I doubt the practice will end.

  15. Robert, the study is broken in the sense that the direction of who initiated the friendship also matters.

    Somebody sending 4999 individual invites has a high chance of being insecure.

    I bet you received those invites. Receiving invites is sign of popularity, desirability, or a high social status.

    So yeah, you should interpret these scientific studies appropriately before feeling insecure:)

  16. Robert, the study is broken in the sense that the direction of who initiated the friendship also matters.

    Somebody sending 4999 individual invites has a high chance of being insecure.

    I bet you received those invites. Receiving invites is sign of popularity, desirability, or a high social status.

    So yeah, you should interpret these scientific studies appropriately before feeling insecure:)

  17. Maybe I’m old skool, but it really annoys me how Friendster and MySpace and Facebook all use the terminology “friend”. I mean really, what is a friend? It’s not some hot chick avatar who wants to add her numbers of contacts while you add yours. I think contacts or relationships or buddies is a better description and really muddies what a friend really is.

    Also the study fails to mention how some of these tools (most notoriously PLAXO) pull a super-ninja-hyjack-move on you and before you know it, BAMMMM you are inviting everyone you’ve ever emailed.

    Oooops.

  18. Maybe I’m old skool, but it really annoys me how Friendster and MySpace and Facebook all use the terminology “friend”. I mean really, what is a friend? It’s not some hot chick avatar who wants to add her numbers of contacts while you add yours. I think contacts or relationships or buddies is a better description and really muddies what a friend really is.

    Also the study fails to mention how some of these tools (most notoriously PLAXO) pull a super-ninja-hyjack-move on you and before you know it, BAMMMM you are inviting everyone you’ve ever emailed.

    Oooops.

  19. 800 FACEBOOK FRIENDS TOO MANY?… ACADEMICS NEED DEEPER ANALYSIS

    This is a stupid statement. 800 Facebook friends are too many and reflect insecurity? Please. I’m not responding to this because I am approaching 800 friends on Facebook, but the fact that it doesn’t take much analysis or deep thinking to see that th…

  20. I think the fact that your first thought was “Hey! They’re talking about me! I’ll write a blog post everyone this study refers to me!” is worthy of a study itself :-)

  21. I think the fact that your first thought was “Hey! They’re talking about me! I’ll write a blog post everyone this study refers to me!” is worthy of a study itself :-)

  22. Yeah !!! I only have ONE friend-follower-contact in facebook … Soooo .. reserchers say I am SuperMan !!!
    WTF !!! they are crazy !!!

  23. Yeah !!! I only have ONE friend-follower-contact in facebook … Soooo .. reserchers say I am SuperMan !!!
    WTF !!! they are crazy !!!

  24. On the flipside, people with more than 800 “friends”, get elected, and then they become very secure — power and wealth, being the gravity that keeps it all in orbit.

    But you can’t really make a full-fledged psychodynamic impact statement from just that action, more case-by-case, as some could be really insecure, (manifesting it via a superiority complex) or a boilerplate sociopath, unaware of own self, lacking empathy for the “friends”, treating them as mere collections. And some (most likely all) are of quite the real pathological narcissistic sort, really believing their own PR, and not just grandiosity from the viewpoint of self-insecurity. Narcissistic Personality Disorders in the Bay Area/Valley are like Starbucks or McDonalds — everywhere. And in current Valley start-up fashion, NPD hides behind “entrepreneurship” smoke-screens.

  25. On the flipside, people with more than 800 “friends”, get elected, and then they become very secure — power and wealth, being the gravity that keeps it all in orbit.

    But you can’t really make a full-fledged psychodynamic impact statement from just that action, more case-by-case, as some could be really insecure, (manifesting it via a superiority complex) or a boilerplate sociopath, unaware of own self, lacking empathy for the “friends”, treating them as mere collections. And some (most likely all) are of quite the real pathological narcissistic sort, really believing their own PR, and not just grandiosity from the viewpoint of self-insecurity. Narcissistic Personality Disorders in the Bay Area/Valley are like Starbucks or McDonalds — everywhere. And in current Valley start-up fashion, NPD hides behind “entrepreneurship” smoke-screens.

  26. unlimited business opportunities, just a few clicks away.

    Funny, I heard nearly that same phrase barked at me, on late night cable TV, smushed in-between the no-money-down Real Estate deals and the become-a-millionaire ‘by placing thousands of classified ads’.

    So friends as Multi-Level-Marketing contacts, or a “yes men” circular feedback loop. So they aren’t so much as friends as business contacts, friends for what they can ‘grant’ you, making you a just another internet bloodsucking vampire. Scoble collects “friends” as trophies, you collect them as a “rolodex” you can call on when needed, not much difference really.

  27. unlimited business opportunities, just a few clicks away.

    Funny, I heard nearly that same phrase barked at me, on late night cable TV, smushed in-between the no-money-down Real Estate deals and the become-a-millionaire ‘by placing thousands of classified ads’.

    So friends as Multi-Level-Marketing contacts, or a “yes men” circular feedback loop. So they aren’t so much as friends as business contacts, friends for what they can ‘grant’ you, making you a just another internet bloodsucking vampire. Scoble collects “friends” as trophies, you collect them as a “rolodex” you can call on when needed, not much difference really.

  28. They might have to use a curve to make this more accurate. At some point the likelihood that number of friends = insecurity changes to number of friends = popularity.

  29. They might have to use a curve to make this more accurate. At some point the likelihood that number of friends = insecurity changes to number of friends = popularity.

  30. Hmm, the most secure people therefore must work for either the IRS or the Canada Revenue Agency. They have very few friends.

  31. Hmm, the most secure people therefore must work for either the IRS or the Canada Revenue Agency. They have very few friends.

  32. So they aren’t so much as friends as business contacts, friends for what they can ‘grant’ you, making you a just another internet bloodsucking vampire. Scoble collects “friends” as trophies, you collect them as a “rolodex” you can call on when needed, not much difference really.

    And I thought I was cynical. LOL

    Besides the insecurity theory, and the utilitarian theory, there is my theory, which I call the Pokemon Theory.

    People have a gland in their brains that makes them want to amass collections of things — postage stamps, Beanie Babies, mechanical watches, bootleg recordings, vinyl records, QSL cards. The utility of these objects doesn’t matter. Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap had a collection of guitars, some of which had never been played.

    This gland makes it pleasurable to simply amass a collection. The advertising tagline for Pokemon was “Gotta catch ‘em all!”

    This gland is also partly responsible for the success of eBay — someone else’s trash being the missing piece of someone else’s prized collection.

    Collecting “friends” for the pure pleasure of it: I think this is at least partially what is going on here.

    One can argue about the definition of “friend,” whether the average Facebook “friend” really has much utility once you get past having 2,000 of them, etc. but in the end, it boils down to someone thinking that having 4,999 anythings in a collection is pretty cool… and someone else thinking it isn’t. :-)

    One tends to be proud of one’s collections:

    My Pokemans. Let me show you them.

  33. So they aren’t so much as friends as business contacts, friends for what they can ‘grant’ you, making you a just another internet bloodsucking vampire. Scoble collects “friends” as trophies, you collect them as a “rolodex” you can call on when needed, not much difference really.

    And I thought I was cynical. LOL

    Besides the insecurity theory, and the utilitarian theory, there is my theory, which I call the Pokemon Theory.

    People have a gland in their brains that makes them want to amass collections of things — postage stamps, Beanie Babies, mechanical watches, bootleg recordings, vinyl records, QSL cards. The utility of these objects doesn’t matter. Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap had a collection of guitars, some of which had never been played.

    This gland makes it pleasurable to simply amass a collection. The advertising tagline for Pokemon was “Gotta catch ‘em all!”

    This gland is also partly responsible for the success of eBay — someone else’s trash being the missing piece of someone else’s prized collection.

    Collecting “friends” for the pure pleasure of it: I think this is at least partially what is going on here.

    One can argue about the definition of “friend,” whether the average Facebook “friend” really has much utility once you get past having 2,000 of them, etc. but in the end, it boils down to someone thinking that having 4,999 anythings in a collection is pretty cool… and someone else thinking it isn’t. :-)

    One tends to be proud of one’s collections:

    My Pokemans. Let me show you them.

  34. Kamal makes an interesting point about the directionality of the friendship requests. In theory one making all of the request would seem to more insecure. Then again it could be the act of someone trying to build a more dense information stream.

    Of course there’s also a great difference between being a college student and a public figure. You are bound to get more friendship requests.

    What I’ve been wondering is if the students will now figure out they are being watched and alter their behavior. I think the researchers would have to be given access to the school’s network to view the profiles and activities of its members. I can look them up and see that they are listed as being part of the Harvard network. But if I were a student at school X and found that I could see the researcher’s full profiles even though I’m not in the Harvard network, then I’d know it was my school. Unless I’m misunderstanding how Facebook works, or if Facebook gave the researchers special access, I can’t imagine the name of the school can stay secret for long.

  35. Kamal makes an interesting point about the directionality of the friendship requests. In theory one making all of the request would seem to more insecure. Then again it could be the act of someone trying to build a more dense information stream.

    Of course there’s also a great difference between being a college student and a public figure. You are bound to get more friendship requests.

    What I’ve been wondering is if the students will now figure out they are being watched and alter their behavior. I think the researchers would have to be given access to the school’s network to view the profiles and activities of its members. I can look them up and see that they are listed as being part of the Harvard network. But if I were a student at school X and found that I could see the researcher’s full profiles even though I’m not in the Harvard network, then I’d know it was my school. Unless I’m misunderstanding how Facebook works, or if Facebook gave the researchers special access, I can’t imagine the name of the school can stay secret for long.

  36. Good point, lightly touched on with “collects friends as trophies” — Scoble (and others) with Facebook friends, interior decorators with Depression Glass, Dexter with blood slides.

    But to best sum up, I offer this paraphrase of Tony Gayton from ‘The Salton Sea’…

    “Twitters, Facebookers and bloggers coming and going, swearing eternal allegiance and undying love for one another, only to wake up after the binge and realize you wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on one of ‘em if their head was on fire.”

  37. Good point, lightly touched on with “collects friends as trophies” — Scoble (and others) with Facebook friends, interior decorators with Depression Glass, Dexter with blood slides.

    But to best sum up, I offer this paraphrase of Tony Gayton from ‘The Salton Sea’…

    “Twitters, Facebookers and bloggers coming and going, swearing eternal allegiance and undying love for one another, only to wake up after the binge and realize you wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on one of ‘em if their head was on fire.”

  38. Good point, lightly touched on with ‘collects as trophies’, Scoble with Facebook friends, Interior Decorators with Depression Glass, Dexter with blood slides.

    But best sum up, this Tony Gayton paraphrase from ‘The Salton Sea’…

    “Twitters, Facebookers and bloggers coming and going, swearing eternal allegiance and undying love for one another, only to wake up after the binge and realize you wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on one of ‘em if their head was on fire.”

  39. Good point, lightly touched on with ‘collects as trophies’, Scoble with Facebook friends, Interior Decorators with Depression Glass, Dexter with blood slides.

    But best sum up, this Tony Gayton paraphrase from ‘The Salton Sea’…

    “Twitters, Facebookers and bloggers coming and going, swearing eternal allegiance and undying love for one another, only to wake up after the binge and realize you wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on one of ‘em if their head was on fire.”

  40. Anyone that refers to themselves in the third person has bigger issues than insecurity. ‘Attention Whore’ would be a more accurate description!

  41. Anyone that refers to themselves in the third person has bigger issues than insecurity. ‘Attention Whore’ would be a more accurate description!

  42. Heidi, often one can see the friends of a person totally unrelated to him/her. Note that there is a tradeoff between privacy and virality in a social network network. Facebook by default is more viral and less private, which is a good strategy in an early phase of a new technology which has not yet become mainstream. Expect Facebook to introduce more privacy as social networking becomes more mainstream.

    Till then there is really a low barrier to do social research on these networks! Scientists should take advantage of this. Later on the data will be released to a selected few.

    PS: A great example of similar tradeoff is OS. There is a tradeoff between security and convenience. In early days, Windows was choosing convenience by default, that is most OS services were ready to be used by default. As it matured, security is taking a central stage. If security was given more importance in the initial phases of computing revolution then it might have slowed down the revolution itself, i.e., slower adoptation rate of computers at home.

    Web is going through such a revolutionary phase now. For an example, all the geeks are writing blogs. But a lot of common people have also started writing blogs. Live Spaces is full of such blogs.

  43. Heidi, often one can see the friends of a person totally unrelated to him/her. Note that there is a tradeoff between privacy and virality in a social network network. Facebook by default is more viral and less private, which is a good strategy in an early phase of a new technology which has not yet become mainstream. Expect Facebook to introduce more privacy as social networking becomes more mainstream.

    Till then there is really a low barrier to do social research on these networks! Scientists should take advantage of this. Later on the data will be released to a selected few.

    PS: A great example of similar tradeoff is OS. There is a tradeoff between security and convenience. In early days, Windows was choosing convenience by default, that is most OS services were ready to be used by default. As it matured, security is taking a central stage. If security was given more importance in the initial phases of computing revolution then it might have slowed down the revolution itself, i.e., slower adoptation rate of computers at home.

    Web is going through such a revolutionary phase now. For an example, all the geeks are writing blogs. But a lot of common people have also started writing blogs. Live Spaces is full of such blogs.

  44. The low cost PC at Walmart was put in a much bigger box than necessary since company research indicated their customers associate size with quality. Bigger = Better!

    Size matters.

    Having a zillion friends on social networks, that’s a purdy big marketplace of one to sell, pitch, evangelize, and entertain to…

    Size matters.

  45. The low cost PC at Walmart was put in a much bigger box than necessary since company research indicated their customers associate size with quality. Bigger = Better!

    Size matters.

    Having a zillion friends on social networks, that’s a purdy big marketplace of one to sell, pitch, evangelize, and entertain to…

    Size matters.

  46. The low cost PC at Walmart was put in a much bigger box than necessary since company research indicated their customers associate size with quality. Bigger = Better!

    Research also indicated that a lot of people were stupid.

    Size matters.

    “We also discovered that if you take a really LARGE cup and fill it up with 80% ice, people think they’re getting a lot more soda!”

    Having a zillion friends on social networks, that’s a purdy big marketplace of one to sell, pitch, evangelize, and entertain to…

    ‘Cause everyone wants their “friends” to “sell, pitch, and evangelize” stuff to them? Why just HAVE a beer with a friend when you can SELL, PITCH, and EVANGELIZE them a beer. Say, [INSERT FRIEND.FIRSTNAME], have you heard of this delicious new beer? It comes in a huge CUP full of ice…

    Degree centrality isn’t the only thing that matters.

  47. The low cost PC at Walmart was put in a much bigger box than necessary since company research indicated their customers associate size with quality. Bigger = Better!

    Research also indicated that a lot of people were stupid.

    Size matters.

    “We also discovered that if you take a really LARGE cup and fill it up with 80% ice, people think they’re getting a lot more soda!”

    Having a zillion friends on social networks, that’s a purdy big marketplace of one to sell, pitch, evangelize, and entertain to…

    ‘Cause everyone wants their “friends” to “sell, pitch, and evangelize” stuff to them? Why just HAVE a beer with a friend when you can SELL, PITCH, and EVANGELIZE them a beer. Say, [INSERT FRIEND.FIRSTNAME], have you heard of this delicious new beer? It comes in a huge CUP full of ice…

    Degree centrality isn’t the only thing that matters.

  48. Having lots of Facebook friends doens’t mean you’re insecure.
    It’s *telling* people how many Facebook friends you have that means you’re insecure :-)

  49. Hey, what if you’re not on Facebook so therefore have no Facebook friends? Does that mean you’re insecure too?

  50. Hey, what if you’re not on Facebook so therefore have no Facebook friends? Does that mean you’re insecure too?