Our real life relationships are not bounded by accepting/ignoring/blocking/following, they are far more complicated than that. The social web is still very early in its development and is likely to take years to mature.
We’re only yet building Connections and Groups. Relationships are starting to form in places as systems learn from people’s interactions (email, IM, social networks), but it will take many years to for computers to understand Meaning. Understanding meaning will be necessary to provide tools that deeply support people’s communication needs, and to provide advertising that people really value.
There are many examples on today’s social networks to illustrate our early development state:
- Awkward friend suggestions for people you don’t want to be connected to.
- Only accepting certain requests because you feel some sort of obligation.
- People from very different parts of your life coming together in an unnatural context e.g. both commenting on your status update but with different perspectives.
- Some of your connections asking you to explain your status update (which was actually a private joke with other connections).
- People from one aspect of your life (e.g. work) seeing content from another aspect (e.g. clubbing) that you’d prefer them not to see.
- Seeing content from people you don’t care about and missing content from people you really care about.