Brad Feld, an investor in AdaptiveBlue, has a written a good post titled Friend Hierarchy.
Brad writes about his desire “to categorize [his] “friends” into a hierarchy that [he] gets to create. One example set might be (lover, buddy, friend, acquaintances, met once, jackass, enemy). This “friend set” should be user customizable and private.”
It reminded me of this discussion I had with Leigh about a hierarchy around friendships built on trust across verticals and subject matters: I trust this person on subject matter X, and this person on subject matter Y even though the network might trust Z.
In life we organize our relationships into a large number of hierarchies, with individuals spanning different sets and lists. Trust, friendship, expertise (both domain and absolute), knowledge across verticals… the list goes on.
And yet online we have “friend.”
I see two interesting things to discuss and debate here:
1) Which hierarchy is most important to surface online first: Is it deepness of friendship? Level of knowledge? Amount of expertise? Or something totally different?
2) Is the best way to surface these relationships through explicit means or via implicit methods?
To dive into the second point a bit: would you like to have your friendships surfaced, automatically, via existing trust relationships and have the level of the friendship defined for you, automatically, by how often you interact with your network?
Or would you like to explicitly add a friend and then define the level and nature of the friendship?
I’d like to hear from a number of people on this topic. Alex/Andy/Karen/Rion/Jeff, what say you? Micah and Stan? Leigh, you sort of started this whole thing. What about Anne, Becky, and Leona? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller. Bueller.