Wrong concept called “digital” friendship
Let us discuss the concept of “digital” (=Yes/No) friendship that governs today’s social networks. I am afraid this concept is outdated as it doesn’t reflect reality of peoples’ relationships. It should be replaced by a more natural concept of, say, “communication proximity”, which would be dynamically built on frequency of communication between any two people.
The long-term solution would be to incorporate a standard to the internet that would unambiguously identify people along all ways of their communication. Even if I read an article of certain author, this should be calculated as his one-way communication with me. If I post comment under that article and the author reads it, it will be already a two-way communication. After collecting all these data, everybody would have a personal map available to him that would automatically map people in his neighborhood – from his closest friends to some remote potential contacts; in addition there should be possibility to map people not just by frequency of communication, but also by common professions, interests, hobbies. In other words, even results from this mapping exercise would be highly personalized and would offer variety of outputs. This model would correspond much closer with reality than today’s digital Yes/No schemes.
Ideally, contact management systems should be developed that would automatically watch all means of my communication: email systems, IM systems, (VoIP) phone applications, and that would also integrate with my calendar, as personal meetings are also a way of communication. To allow these applications being established, a clear method to uniquely identify people in their different ways of communication should exist. Yes, we are again returning to the concept of “Unique Personal Identificator” described earlier in this blog. Unfortunately, nobody has the authority to define such a thing, even if it is very useful. Several interesting attempts exist (e.g., FOAF), but the way to go is probably through creating a de-facto standard.
And now we are coming to our question. How can, to your opinion, such a standard develop? Which is the most likely scenario that would force people to use certain identification method in all their communication?
I have some ideas and I am ready to share them with you, but would love to hear your opinions first.