Open Social Network Experiment

So back at the beginning of Lent I did something that I am prone to do. A little online experiment. I opened up my social networks.

At the time they looked something like this:

  • LinkedIn 892 contacts, 363 requests
  • Twitter 2,774 followers, 331 following
  • Facebook 386 friends, 83 requests
  • Foursquare 88 followers, 120 requests

So I opened things up. I essentially accepted all requests and followed back on everything that seemed like a real human.

Six weeks latter I have 1,273 LinkedIn connections, 2,908 Twitter followers while following 479, 475 Facebook friends, and 224 Foursquare followers. From a percentage basis the size of my social networks have grown as such; LinkedIn up 43%, Twitter up 9%, Facebook up 23%, and Foursquare up a whooping 155%. All in my social connections are up to nearly 5,400, a 20% growth rate in six weeks. 

Here is how the growth impacted my user experience.

Facebook felt fundamentally the same.

Aside from a inane request from someone that I do not know asking me to do something that takes time with no apparent benefit to me, I noticed no change on LinkedIn, the network with one of the higher growth rates. 

Foursquare in essence operated the same. In essence. From time to time in the back of my head I thought about the potential Foursquare stalker problem. Not sure if I am going to do anything about it but it does reinforce some of my thoughts on the limits to the size of location based social networks.

Twitter, with its measley 9% growth, became unusable. Without spending significant amount of time reading through updates of no interest or adopting a more sophisticated client to filter results Twitter literally lost its value. I stopped using it. At least for me, indiscriminately following back on Twitter is a bad strategy. So I am going to be cleaning up my following list and in the future be more selective about those who I follow.

April 28, 2011  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Social