OMG! are you my REAL friend or my Facebook Fair Weather Friend or?


As Facebook continues to rock the digital personality and social networking landscape I’m starting to build up my Facebook friends list and planning to develop some travel based communities using Facebook at the social networking platform.

However I’m somewhat frustrated with what appear to be dramatically different definitions of the word “friend”. Facebook emails to “add friends” make it seem like you should have a real “relationship” with the person before you add them even though this approach seems to be breaking down quickly as Facebook use, abuse, and social networking explodes.

Robert Scoble to the rescue with a great definition of “friend” over at his blog – here was our exchange over there:

  1. Robert what’s the appropriate way to define “friend”. I have been confused about adding people to facebook thinking Facebook seems to want me to really “know them” to add them though I already have some folks on there I have not met. I’d say the more the merrier, but that will get out of hand quickly.

    What is your rule for adding friends?
    Comment by JoeDuck — July 25, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  2. Joe: in social networks a “friend” is someone you want in your network. No more, no less.

    If you try to limit it to “real friends” you’ll be missing a lot of the power of these things.

    I wish they’d stop calling these things “friends,” by the way. Twitter has done just that. People in Twitter are “followers” for people who watch you and “following” for people you are watching. Much better name for these things.

Thanks Robert – excellent!

I think Robert’s definition has several advantages, most notably it encourages people to have *more* people who they call friend.  I see this as practical, fun, and a small step towards the elusive goal of more global friendship.

Hey – did you just read this?   We’re friends so feel free to send me an add request to Facebook.    Do you blog travel or your local region?    PLEASE help build a network of regional blogging travel enthusiasts to rule the travel world!

Chinook’s Perfect Checkers Game


The best checkers player in the world is now a computer program, which will never again lose a game.   Chinook was designed just to play checkers but wound up solving the game with a database of every possible move combination.

Many would suggest that checkers and chess programs (which now are the best chess players in the world) are not a reasonable metaphor for human intellect but I disagree.   This type of program, *factually speaking*, is a vastly superior form of intellect in these limited game realms.

Our human abilities have evolved over millions of years to branch out in far more than a single direction and that is impressive.  It’s also fairly clear that these chess and checker programs are not “conscious” despite the fact that they are better than we are at the games.   However I don’t think it’s reasonable at all to assume that there is something “extra” that makes human intellect and consciousness unattainable for a mechanism.  On the contrary we are *defective* thinkers compared to machines doing comparable things.   Even a simple Wal Mart calculator can “outthink” the best mathematician in the world in most forms of mathematical problem solving.

As we start blending the power of our organic computing devices (aka brains) with mechanical computing devices I expect a more rational, resource optimized world where economic and environmental balances are met.  A world filled with happy, glowing faces and prosperity for all.   Yes, really I do!