Internet has turned social and as we start sharing more, conversing with a lot more people it’s important to understand the nature of out strong, weak and temporary ties.
Paul Adams, senior UX research at Google is studying the impact of social relationships in the online world and has few interesting data points to share
- Average user has 130 friends on Facebook
- Most people on Facebook only interact regularly with 4 to 7 people,
- 80% of our Skype calls are made to 2 people.
Paul has an interesting argument that the system treats all your friends equally. Most of the systems, right from your Facebook contacts to Mobile contact book fail to distinguish between the most important ties in your life – strong, weak and temporary ties.
- Strong ties: People we care deeply about.
- Weak ties: People we are loosely connected to, like friends of friends.
- Temporary ties: People we don’t know, and interact with temporarily.
What’s interesting is that systems are designed for conversation with weak ties.
But the reality is, social networks rarely add to our number of connections. We’ve already met almost all the people we’re connected to on social networks. We’re already connected to these people offline. Social networks simply make the connections visible. For example, we often connect with old school friends, and catch up over a couple of wall posts. But rarely do we continue the conversation once we’ve connected, and over time we forget that the connections exist. In fact, Facebook users often have no interactions with up to 50% of their connections – link
Also check out this interesting presentation on our social interactions.