Facebook and Twitter – two mechanisms of networking
Lets go back in time about five years back. There were Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – social networks fighting each other for supremacy (minus LinkedIn) Now a couple of years back. We have Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus, Quora, Pinterest, etc. – the social networks around a particular niche. Notice a difference in the two groups? Yes, the former functions / functioned around the ‘friend request’ mechanism and latter on ‘follow-unfollow’ mechanism. If i am right then it was Twitter that first introduced the concept ‘following’ someone instead of friending.
So which must be the better of the two? Of course the latter one as its being adopted by the social networks that are emerging now. ‘Following’ provides better activity as it breaks the friending process into two “independent” halves. Thus the user is not kept waiting for the other user to respond. Thus is its better. I remember some 20 months back while using Good Reads i came across a new mechanism of friending. You send a friend request and wait for the other person to respond but there is a catch. The moment you send a friend request you start following that person. Sounds familiar? Yes, facebook implemented this soon after Google Plus came out. It is called ‘Subscribe’. I don’t know whether Good Reads was the first one or not but it had some novelity.
On some other note. I have seen my friends sending friend requests to hot chicks and then awaiting their confirmation in anxiety. They’d cheer up if they got accepted. This cant be found in ‘following’ but this is something that is flirt and not a utility.