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Asymmetric Follow

  • stevan


    There were mentioning of this feature but not in the ideas forum, also I noticed that some people here don’t understand how big is the difference between friending and following. My English is bad, so I will use other people’s words, I will give you links to original content at the end of post.

    This is my summary:

    If you see a social network where someone has 5000 followers and only follows 150 back – that’s Asymmetric Follow. People in a Web 2.0 network are not uniformly connected; some have more connections than others. Connections have directions; the number of inbound connections may far exceed the number of outbound connections, creating an asymmetric environment.

    Some (dare I say like your good self) are just out there doing original things and are kind enough to pass that knowledge/insight along.

    Some people are just more interesting/attractive/better at expressing themselves than others.

    It would be a strange world indeed if we all symmetrically followed. We’d have 11 captains in a football team, as many kings as citizens and as many monks as sons of god.

    Any site that is going to handle conversations or informaton exchanges between more than about 25 people at a time needs to use an asymmetrical model or the end users become overwhelmed and the information quickly gets lost in the noise.

    A is related to B. However, what does this mean. Such a statement is purely ambiguous at best. If A loves B, does it mean that B reciprocates and loves A? Certainly that is not known. Is B even aware of A and inversely, is A aware of B even though A is tweeting at B.

    These types of relationships are noted in most upper level ontology work. There are roughly 11 variations of a binary predicate aspect of any relationship. Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, transitive, intransitive, reflexsive, co-reflexsive, disjoint, etc.

    The point of asimmetric follow is, that how people experience the service is really up to them.

    It focuses attention on the stuff users are looking at – on what they do – rather than expressions of who they are

    Reciprocated social behaviour isn’t de rigeur in a “follow” context (i.e., it isn’t necessarily rude not to follow someone who is following you)

    Asymmetric follow is also a good way to boost viral growth, as it encourages people to try the service without having to be an active user. We learned long ago from Usenet and mailing lists that there are always more lurkers than posters.

    An old class mate asked me once, “what’s with twitter?” in an annoyed tone because they didn’t “get it”. I said, it’s like life. Say what you want, went you want, some will listen, most will not. Follow/friend those worth listening to, and ignore the ones that aren’t.


    Examples: Twitter; Google Buzz; Flickr;

    And for comparison this is how friending works :)

    Quotes are from this disscusions:

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