If They Know, Why Doesn’t Facebook Let Me See Just My Real Friends?

There is this really cool conversation going in the blogosphere right now about real friends vs. online friends and how they’re played out in social networking applications.

Facebook has allowed you to stay in touch with more than just your close day to day friends. It has given you the power to track and keep in touch with your whole friendship ecosystem.  It allows you to keep in touch with everyone from your best friends to the person you met a conference once to your long lost friend from third grade.

The thing is for the most part all of the relationships are seen as the same in Facebook.  This makes it incredibly hard to filter out the noise and just hear the signal because you have this constant stream of everyone’s activity.

Robert Scoble has very elequently stated in some recent videos how Facebook knows who you’re close to.  They can tell you interact with, message, poke, attend events, went to school with and so on.  You think they could put in some type of automatic filter that allowed me to see my close friends more prominently then the person from the the conference who I don’t really talk to or know that well.  The thing is… they don’t have this feature.

Facebook should be using all of this activity and attention data to shape how we see the dat that is being presented to us.

Right now there is a Facebook Application where you can choose who your “Top Friends” are (which I still think is a dumb idea). I’d love to see an application which would show you who your top friends are purely based on the history of all your interactions on Facebook.

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7 thoughts on “If They Know, Why Doesn’t Facebook Let Me See Just My Real Friends?”

  1. I like this idea, good suggestion.

    And each user should be able to see how certain actions lead to certain conclusions. This would then encourage people to interact more with their closest friends.

  2. Very good point. I’m using Facebook less and less lately because there’s too much going on — and because the numerous applications being thrown at me makes it unusable. It feels like MySpace now.

  3. So I agree it’s pretty obvious that Facebook could (and probably should) be automatically making your ‘good’ friends more prominent. But they do at least a small way to adjust this: the ‘Preferences’ link on the News Feed lets you select up to 20 friends to hear from more often, and 20 to hear from less often. Plus you can adjust the distribution of updates from the various default applications. (Although I can’t see that there’s a way to handle outside apps.)

    I haven’t tried using this feature yet. Has anyone else? Does it work?

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