January 18, 2003

Trust in the Friendster and Ryze social networks

I finally got around to joining Ryze a social networking site. After just a few hours I find that I am more impressed with Friendster for many reasons.

Part of my preference of Friendster is the trust factor, which Friendster takes advantage of and Ryze has left off. When I go to add a person to my friend list in Friendster, Friendster sends a note to the person asking permission. Upon approval from the person I wish to link as my friend the person shows up in my friend list. Friendster also provides "introductions" through people on your friends list and people can recommend friends to others. The testimonies on Friendster are a valuable commodity as they must be approved by the person receiving the testimony (granted this can become rigged, but it offers the ability to give a better sense of the person). Friendster also shows the relationship to others in the whole network. These are assets that are very important to me when building trust and components that are missing in Ryze

The focus of the two systems is different. Ryze purports to be a business networking tool, while Friendster is a social networking tool. The lack of the above mentioned features for trust in the Ryze tool seem to make it more vulnerable for abuse or misuse. In a business context trust is very important as investment and decision that can have a determinant impact on success are made from information. People are one conduit of an information flow.

To me, it seems important to have the ability to have a some measure of trust built into a representation of a human relationship that then provides information the user may then act upon. It is also important to know that this relationship is approved or reciprocal People entering my page on Ryze from a Google search may see that I have Peter Morville as a friend. The Ryze tool does not provide a mechanism to verify this is the case. The only method one may have to determine if Peter and I are friends and there is a mutual trust that may be drawn from that relationship is to see if Peter has listed me as one of his friends. The Friendster model asks the person being listed as a friend if they agree to be listed as a friend. This model also makes it easier to find connections between people.

The Friendster tool can help people find others for various reasons or used as a tool to open doors to new music, movies, or interests. In the week or two I have been on Friendster I have found new music to dive into. I have been bugged by two folks to add my music preferences as they are looking for new music to explore. This would also be helpful for Ryze in a business context, but I don't see digital trust mechanisms that would ease this transaction. Ryze is more tool to provide links and correlations for serendipity then a quick way to find people of similar mind sets or people to expand intellectual and/or monetary pursuits.

I will stay with both social networking tools, but I know which tool I have more trust in at the moment. The trust factor is built over time through interactions that ring true to one's own meter or metric for judging. Friendster provides a step up on the trust meter. The best analogy is a sidewalk meeting: Ryze provides a glimpse of two people walking near each other (we do not know the relationship as it could be victim and stalker, friends, or two people that started chatting on the subway); Friendster classifies the relationships of the two or more on the sidewalk and shows the approved relationship as friends.

Posted Comments

I found Everyonesconnected a better site. Much more feature rich and it has something to keep you occupied and keep you returning to the site. I have been logged on to Everyonesconnected.com for some time now and the site is definitely growing. New features are always being added and it has functionality to suit most users. from fun with friends, to dating and making new friends. There have even been some parties throughout the UK.

You know what's obnoxious? People plugging their own websites pretending they are random users. andy lane, go away...

I'm thinking about joining Friendster. Is there any way I can do it without asking one of my friends to join. I know none of them would want to, and I don't want anyone to know my business. I asked webmasters at Friendster, but have not heard back.

Okay, that first comment by Andy Lane... it's driving me crazy. The first time I read it, I thought, okay, whatever... but I've been doing some research on Friendster (to see what others think) and that EXACT POST is on every forum! Different dates... but the very exact wording. So, I may have tried the site, seeing a random user plug it, but seeing the same person plug it everywhere, I enjoy friendster too much to care. Mike Mc, Friendster won't let you browse profiles unless they're in your network. So, without being asked by a friend who already has a starting network, it's kind of difficult to get started. If you do a Google search for Friendster, and look at some of the sites, not only will you see that above site posted incessantly, but you'll have people offering to link you to them so you can see what the site is like.

if you want a real social network, try this software: http://www.huminity.com

Huminity is evil! They take all your contacts and spam them.

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