A few weeks ago, Economist reporter Andreas Kluth wrote a nice piece about Facebook and social networking services in general, titled Social Graph-iti.
He kindly quoted me referring to the peripheral vision that Facebook’s MiniFeed gives you, all assembled casually, almost randomly, from “exhaust data.” It’s a weird phenomenon.
The most basic activities on Facebook include “friending” other Facebook members and adding small Facebook apps to your profile. As you do this, you quickly realize that these events become an intermittent narrative of your actions on Facebook, and that they show up on your “friends'” feeds. So when you buddy with Joan and Bobby, all the people you’re already friended with see that you just friended Joan, then Bobby. Then they see you added the Werewolf app, and so on.
Not very useful, right? Except this flow gives you this ongoing feel for what your posse is up to, without explicitly asking anyone or running a query. That’s what I mean by peripheral vision, and it is useful.
I’ll come back to Facebook and its dynamics shortly. For now, though, this post goes out the virtual door, so it won’t sit half-baked forever.