Group and Friend Suggestions, is there a better way?

I’ve written about this before, with Facebook’s “People you may know” tool, but I’m reminded again today because of some “recommendations” of groups that are starting to appear on LinkedIn and other sites as well.

As I mentioned before, just because you read this blog, and maybe I follow your blog, and we’re “friends” on-line, doesn’t necessarily mean that you and I have the same interests outside of that relationship. For example, I know a few of you guys live pretty much across the country from me, and we are connected on Facebook, or LinkedIn, etc. Just because we’re connected, doesn’t mean that I know your neighbor, or person you went to middle school with, who also happens to be connected to you. It seems like, if I fill in some friend details, there should be some algorithm that would eliminate the more obvious cases. Something like taking people I went to elementary school with, and my in-laws, and figuring these people have no reason to know each other, so we can drop them from the list?

The same should be true of group affiliations. LinkedIn and Facebook seem to want me to always know what groups my friends are joining, insinuating that I might be interested in those groups too. Again, here we could maybe apply a little common sense to the algorithm, no? Geographical groups in a place that I have never lived or alumni groups that don’t match where I went to school? Women’s groups? Single’s groups when I list myself as married? Obviously, I’m not going to be overly interested in joining in those groups, why spend so much effort to bring them to my attention just because someone I am connected to joined them?

Surely, someone can make some programming changes and improve on this! I mean, I’m no programmer, but it seems like there are some logical places to eliminate obvious non-interests from my friends group memberships, thus there must be some way to add that logic to the algorithms? Or are social networking sites really just lazy about giving us more specific results because we don’t expect it from them? I’ve gotten somewhat used to getting more information than I want on social networking sites, and ignoring it. Maybe that’s what they count on?

Technorati Tags: SocialNetworks, Facebook, Groups

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