: ideasproject :
Posted on 10-05-2010
Filed Under (clients, sdr) by aweigend

by Chuanyang Chee, Ron Chung, and Andreas Weigend

ideasproject1 What is a Friend to You? clients


Curious about the best response to the question from IDEAS PROJECT last week?

1. Ron Chung won the prize for the “best answer”.

Here is what Ron said about a “friend” in the era of the social data revolution:

There are two types of ‘friends’, (i) real ‘close-to-heart’ personal friendships, and (ii) online social friendships.

(i) In real personal friendships you more carefully screen and maintain that relationships.  In these situations, you provide more physical and emotional attention compared to online relationships.

(ii) Online social friendships form to maintain touchpoints with people we interact with (sort of like a large addressbook). In the context of consumer internet and social networks/media, an online ‘friend’ is someone you form a weak connection through some form of engagement. This engagement can occur through real world meeting or simply an online exchange (e.g. blog comments, Twitter message, etc).

Also, in these online friendships, there is ambiguity around bilateral versus unilateral ‘friendships’.  For example, Twitter uses ‘followers’ & Facebook uses ‘fans’ to represent unidirection relationships and Facebook uses ‘friends’ to denote bilateral friendships.  However, some Facebook ‘friendships’ are not truly bilateral. They are simply ways for one side to collect ‘friends’ for the sake of amassing a large audience. All of this points to a desire for people maintain touchpoints with people through online medium should they ever want to re-engage them.

In the end, online social friendships give us ambient awareness of what is going on with people, giving us a type of “reality-TV news” channel.

2. A few thoughts by Andreas Weigend:

Daphna Oyserman suggested:

  • Someone whose happiness makes me happy and with whom I feel eager to share my own happiness (knowing that the feeling is mutual).

My favorite one-liner came from Jason Wei in my Stanford class:

  • Someone I’m comfortable being myself with.

My own points (to the degree anyone can have their own points after reading through hundreds of responses) would be, that a friend to me is:

  • Someone whose eyes I want to see the world through.
  • Someone who can make me laugh until tears run down my cheeks.
  • Someone who brings the best out of me, accepting me the way I am (or want to be).
  • Someone who manages to pull me out of a (real or imagined) bad situation.

Please use the comment box below for your comments. Thanks!

3. Finally, Chuanyang Chee shares his insights on the longer SDR survey.

This survey on the Social Data Revolution was developed by Chuanyang and Andreas and taken by Spring 2010 students at Stanford’s The Social Data Revolution, and Tsinghua’s The Digital Networked Economy.

Finding that long-lost best friend from elementary school has become trivial ever since Facebook hit a total subscription of 400 million active users. But having not kept in touch for a couple of years or decades, what is the point of connecting now? Does he even still consider me a friend? Remember me? Read the rest of this entry »

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