Last week I attended one of the Thursday meetings at The Berkman Center (here) where they were talking about Livejournal (which has more than 7M users!). From what I gathered, it is similar to MySpace, which now boasts 12M users.
One interesting part of the conversation was when they talked about friends. In most of those places, as well as in most online games, you can create friends’ lists. A difference with the real world is that in virtual spaces, a person can put you on their friends’ list without you putting them on yours. What kind of a message is that? The other one is what people do when their friendship falls apart. On Livejournal (there were many real users at the meeting), people often times start a new Livejournal without inviting the person with whom their friendship ended, and they let the old Livejournal go stale – as to not hurt that person’s feelings. On X-Box, my son usually has no problem kicking someone off his friend list – but the other day I did hear him tell some of his friends to turn their profiles to “invisible” and go play somewhere else – as to not hurt the feelings of a younger kid that was getting annoying.
This also reminds me of a behavior on LinkedIn. What do you do when someone asks you to endorse them and you don’t really feel like it?
To me it’s fascinating to witness some of the new social dynamics that are emerging online.