The Concept of “Friends” in Social Media is Changing

Selfie App SelfieYo Chat

When we originally designed SelfieYo, the mobile photo chat app, we included a concept similar to social friend graphs found in many other social networking sites. You would obtain “friends” by sending them photos and getting them to vote on your pics. We launched SelfieYo and did some heavy testing with an alpha community of mostly friends and family. After a lot of testing, a lot of observations and a lot of thinking, we decided to eliminate the concept of a social friend graph in the app.

Here’s why:

  • SelfieYo is not meant to be a social graph that replaces Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter. We think those services do a great job, and as heavy social, mobile app users ourselves, the last thing we want is another set of “Friends” or “Followers” to worry about.
  • The concept of “Friends” and “Followers” is ripe for disruption – why even build through that construct anymore? It’s hard to know what a “Friend” even means if you have thousands of people in your graph you don’t even talk to and who probably know nothing about your life. Is that a friend?
  • There is a paradoxical relationship between wanting privacy on existing social networks, yet also wanting to obtain as many “Likes” as possible – for example, what if you value privacy and want to keep your account private, but enjoy getting as much social interaction as possible?
  • SelfieYo thinks there is room for some hybrid approach that allows us to be private on social media when we want AND private in a more public way when we want. And still, be fully public when we want. Sound confusing? What if you could send photos to a social graph not based on friends or specific connections?
  • The new SelfieYo update allows you to share photos and chats outside of a traditional social graph, but still in a way that is relevant. You can be both private and public at the same time. Control over content is fully in your hands and you can share as much or as little about yourself through each SelfieYo interaction.

Even the concept of what a social media profile means has been reevaluated with the SelfieYo Photo Chat App updates. To check out the updates, download the app for iPhone or Android.

As the nature of how we use our mobile phones for virtually all aspects of communication, social apps, banking, entertainment and more, changes, so to does the notion of what the original social graph was all about. Facebook built smartly upon what MySpace and even FriendFinder taught us about traditional friend connections for digital social networks.

These early social networks closely mimicked much of how we behaved in real life; you meet people, you exchange information to keep in touch, and then from time to time you would call them and perhaps meet up.

Fast-forward 20 years or so and the way we interact as humans hasn’t necessarily changed that much at the core, but how those connections are discovered and established is a lot more technology-driven, and in many cases, a lot more ephemeral in nature. It’s strange that you could know someone for one hour and in that period know more about them, on a digital details level, than someone you’ve known for 25 years.

We should note that conflating knowledge obtained through modern social search platforms is not the same as quality insight into an inner being, but it certainly changes the dynamics of how conversations could potentially proceed in any number of social directions. All of this done via your mobile phone or a set of apps connected to various online social graphs.

Is the nature of a social graph intended to be something of historical significance throughout different chapters of life? Or is the nature of the social graph more significant based upon a sliver in time, a mobile moment affecting choices we make in the present or immediate future? The shape of our social networks, how we created them, how we manage them, grows overtime.

How we view ourselves as characters inside the network also changes. Sometimes we think we are creating a more sophisticated sense of our roll in a mobile social environment; sometimes we are perceived quite differently through the lens of the outside world.

In any even, it is an exciting time to be watching the pace of mobile app technology, and the related social networking impact on our daily lives, permeate virtually every moment of our lives – day and night. Perhaps in the next iteration of mobile apps, we will see the smart sensors in our phones move outside the constraints of their hardware, physical shells, and into a more human format.

Some suggest that the evolution of mobile technology and related iOS and Android apps will put smart sensors directly inside the human. It is not inconceivable that the chips we implant in our pets to help track them will evolve into all kinds of sensors we embed directly in ourselves for social communications.

Think James Bond meets Facebook of the future.

We predict that there will be a willing shift, an adaptation of how we view and value privacy in exchange for what we think is an always-on, more dynamic and relevant mobile social network.

We might even all have our own GSM or CDMA connection to our wireless carrier effectively embedded on our person, as well. The intersection of biology, mobile apps, integrated hardware and body software is probably closer than we think. In the medical field, it’s already happening.

How the advances in technology get applied to the social networks of tomorrow is heretofore unknown – but applications are being explored and conceived daily.