‘Tis the season for predictions (and Schadenfreude over last year’s).
One of the most popular predictions for the social web seems to be a diet.
One talks about “Social graph shrinkage“, another about “Social Media Indigestion” (both taken from Peter Kim‘s collection of Social Media Predictions 2009), and ReadWriteWeb adds “Friend List Sanitizers” into the whirlwind of diet buzz.
The reason I see sense in this prediction is one – Facebook Connect. So far, we knew what to expect as a result of too many Facebook friends. There was a certain volume of activity stream, and we managed to live with it. With significant adoption of Facebook Connect (which is the main if here), we’ll soon start seeing many external activities being pushed into the stream – comments, locations, recommendations, purchases – and this wave of added content (and clutter) will then result in removal of the noisy and unwanted sources, just like any email marketing campaign brings with it a major bunch of unsubscribes.
I doubt we’ll see any social graph shrinkage any time soon, there are so many new profiles generated every second that this will by far offset any of these filtering (mainly by long time users). But we’ll probably start seeing a major wave of edge removal, which was not at all common so far.
Facebook Connect is definitely an excellent move by Facebook to continue dominating and de-facto owning the social graph, with marketing agencies the first to realize and point out the value beyond single-sign-on convenience. With no open alternative that offers the same value, this trend will only accelerate, unless the new OpenID Foundation board members start moving from enabler technologies into active push of equivalent value proposition.
Interesting (shrinkage) prediction but I must admit I also think this diet will not work in 2009.
I think the social graph will keep getting fat and isn’t going to loose weight any time soon (not even until 2011)
Why do you we think we’ll start seeing a major wave of edge removal?
Imagine, for example, you have a Facebook friend, who has this BrightKite account. He posts updates in a twitter-like rate, and this never bothered you as you’re not on BrightKite. But now he joined Facebook Connect on BrightKite, and suddenly all this activity is streamed as his activities on Facebook, and your news feed is flooded. Same for your friends who use FB Connect with blog comments, say on TechCrunch and soon many more.
Until FB Connect, this infomaniacs didn’t bother you if you didn’t friend them on those services as well. Now they bring their clutter with them to Facebook (and possibly same soon to MySpace, and maybe Google Reader with Google Friend Connect? so you’re likely to reconsider such not-really-friends you may have added on FB, and simply un-friend them…
But I agree the graph will not get smaller in any way (as I mentioned), this will only trim the noise and clutter caused by supernodes, which is a great thing.
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