I don’t use Facebook all that much. I know it’s super popular, and I maintain it at the bare minimum level, but I can’t really get into it. Recently I watched an online presentation from a UX guy at Google about Social Networking. One major point really resonated with me: The complete lack of segmentation in Facebook.
I have high school “friends”, family “friends”, and professional “friends”. (All of those quotes are air quotes by the way) Whenever someone I know friends me, I accept because I think it’s impolite to do otherwise. However, I really wish I had circles where I could segment them out. I don’t need to see a feed of all of them at once. On the contrary, it’s quite confusing.
Additionally, I would think there could be some permissions and separation between these circles of friends. I don’t quite understand why they built the system without this in the first place, but they did. Now, I imagine it’s difficult because of the 100 bazillion installed user base. Still, this seems like a key enhancement.
I would suggest hard-coding a few of the circles. (Family, High School, College, Professional) There is alot of benefit to Facebook to do this. They would get a much stronger semantic in the social graph. They would be able to tell if people were more influenced by family or friends in purchasing.
Facebook is incredibly popular, but that doesn’t make it perfect. It’s always important to be critical of the tools and services we use.