You Can Count Your Friends On Your Fingers And Maybe A Few Toes

“I know who my friends are. What’s confusing us is how the Web is strengthening our loose ties” –Jeff Dachis, founder of Razorfish
David Armano heard the above words at SXSW this year.

This struck a chord with me. Most of us intuitively know who our friends are. They’re the ones we feel comfortable around, they accept us for who we are yet challenge us to be better, they help us get through difficult times and stick around when others have left. These are our friends. But, with networks we have access to more individuals then ever before in history. We know when they are sick, when they are traveling and even when they’ve lost a loved one. Some of us stay in constant communication with people who would have normally been considered “loose ties”, people we’ve met at an event, a party, a former co-worker, or college friend. These ties can become strengthened and feel like something more than they used to be. And of course, they can turn into friendships at any given time. So while most of us know “who our friends are”, it’s likely that we’re also managing our relationships in ways that allow us to scale. The loose ties become strengthened, while we may rely on social networks even less for our “inner circle” of friends.

What I find interesting is how an individual soc net, Twitter say, promotes one level of intimacy whereas another service, say Facebook, might not.
I’m way more promiscuous on Twitter than I am on Facebook. In fact, I’ve recently been seeing FB as a place to maintain a relatively tight circle of real past and present friends. That’s not what Twitter is at all. Twitter is a giant, constantly moving conversation. At a big party like Twitter you don’t necessarily need to know the person to start up a conversation. I don’t feel that way about interacting on Facebook. Facebook is more of a house party where everyone knows everyone.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.