I’ll say right upfront that this may be a feature that many people don’t need. But I need it so I thought I’d post it anyway.
As software becomes social, the creation of the social graph on each web service becomes a chore. I do not believe that you simply want to port your social graph from Facebook and Twitter into new web services. I believe you want to curate the social graph for each and every web service. And that’s how I try to do it on each new social web service I encounter.
The people I want to follow on Etsy are not the same people I want to follow on Twitter. The people I want to follow on Svpply are not my Facebook friends. I don’t want to share my Foursquare checkins with everyone on Twitter and Facebook.
I am slowly but surely building social graphs on Etsy, Svpply, and Foursquare (and many other services but I thought I would focus on these three for this post). Each service has a slightly different relationship model.
On Etsy, you join circles. I am in almost 100 circles on Etsy, some of which I would like to join back. Svpply uses the Twitter follow model, and close to 100 people are following me, some of which I’d like to follow back. Foursquare uses the Facebook model and there are 3815 friend requests for me there. I am sure there are a bunch of people in the 3815 that I’d like to share my checkins with.
So here is the feature I want. I would like to be able to run these people through all my social graphs on other services (not just Facebook and Twitter) and also my phone contacts and my e-mails to help me filter them and quickly add those people if I think they would make the social experience on the specific service useful to me.
I don’t want to get e-mailed everytime someone follows me or friends me. I’d like each service to build up a list of relationships and let me query that list against other social graphs. I think that would be a much more efficient way to build social graphs.
I do add people myself. I use Twitter’s Who To Follow service to build my Twitter social graph. I join circles in Etsy when I see a seller who has a store I like. I follow people on Svpply when I see something they added that I like.
But the more people you have in your social graphs on these services, the more valuable they become. So making it easier to curate application specific social graphs is a big part of making the services more social and richer experiences for all of us.