Jeremiah Owyang: Why “Friending” Will Be Obsolete

Like a secret handshake, only electronic

Jeremiah Owyang has an interesting piece up entitled “Why ‘Friending’ Will Be Obsolete” and it’s struck a nerve with me.

I hate the term friends.  It’s misleading and it’s a disservice to the the actual social linkage that’s going on.  Let’s face facts, just because I may let you see my Facebook page, it doesn’t mean that your my friend (no slight intended there folks).  Similarly, I may not want some people who might be friends or more likely family to see my page.  Hence the dilemma, although we call them friends, it’s really electronic acquaintances.

Of course, I’m a busy guy and I don’t generally get to manage friend requests from all the services as much I probably should.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience I cause people, but it takes too much time.

Jeremiah says he’s seen a potential model for the future:

I just got finished watching this video of Renato of “E”, a device and software platform that allows you to physically gesture in the real world with people you meet that you are friends. Remember palm pilot back in 2001 that let you ‘beam’ contact info to each other? Similiar to that, but now with more ’social’ context.

It sounds like an interesting concept, especially as he says it will work with a cell phone, or with an special device.  I hate special devices, I immediately think “cue cat” but the fact that it works with cell phone, which is virtually ubiquitous.

The idea of the virtual business card is a good one.  Why kill trees?  Perhaps even providing a couple of classes of business card that would negate the need for further action.  The virtual card IS the action that gives them access, and different cards give different access.  My business card, my personal card, my “I want to date you” card (I’m married, I don’t want to date anyone…but you get the idea).  You could almost use this as a virtual secret handshake.

Best advice: keep it simple to use, make it something the cell phone companies would load by default on thir phones and find a revenue model that doesn’t require subscriptions, which would almost certainly strangle this technology in its crib.

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