You Have 0 Friends vs You Follow The Whole World

Andrew Boon posted 8th of July 2011 in News. 12 comments.

Symmetric, asymmetric, circles, lists, groups... The list (or should I say circle?) goes on. Big gorillas of social networking go bananas trying to convince us how their sharing models are most realistic and natural. And, as you may know, the latest spectacle involving Google+ and Facebook caught us working just on that - Dolphin's "friends" functionality. Ok, let's play this one...


Act 1. Understanding the commotion.

The small world of social networks is divided into two camps. In one camp they think that connections need to be approved. In another they think that announcing connections is enough. Both camps live happily (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) doing what they do for people using them for different purposes. 

Now, a new colorful participant arrived and confused that precious balance. Google+ is presented as an alternative to Facebook (or clone, even) but somehow using one-way, asymmetric connections model. Moreover, unlike Twitter it can be used for private sharing. 

Well, if you try to imagine how it would work outside of Internet (if you still can), that would be quite a natural choice - we can call whoever we want a Part-Time Lover and a Full-Time Friend. Definitions and attributions are all up to us. Confirmation is not required.


Act 2. Unless...

... unless someone actually asks for a confirmation. Oftentimes connections are challenged, or doubted. So, likes of Facebook decided to remove that uncertainty by required confirmations. Now nobody would doubt that that rusty nutty Mater is a friend of the shiny Lightning McQueen. How cool is that!

Asymmetric connections are realistic, allright. The problem is that they are not real anyway, so they don't HAVE to be realistic. It's like those "realistic" porn videos - nice, but still porn. 

Now don't get me wrong. I, personally, much prefer the simplicity of one-way connections, but I refuse to believe in justifications of this choice based on "real life" modelling.


Act 3. I call bullshit. 

Online social networks are not real life social networks. They are a new phenomenon born from an egg of a computer and spermatozoids of real-life. They are a different beast altogether. SNS pundits could argue their guts out about how social networking actually works - it still won't matter. It's all about how ONLINE social networking is expected to work.

Ever wondered why Facebook has 750 million active users? Because the way it works actually makes sense for many. In fact most are still a lot more confused with much simpler Twitter! Why is that?

The catch is that Internet isn't new. Not for SNS taget audience anyhow. Friendster, MySpace and Facebook successively formed a certain image of how "friends" thing works online. It is a part of our life now. And, a case could be made that those nifty confirmations are an example of smart leveraging of technology. Similar to how we don't put our emails into envelopes and use those very "unrealistic" CCs and BCCs.

So, please don't rush into ditching confirmations. 


Act 4. Where's BoonEx at it?

At this stage I strongly believe that both ways are good. One may work for a specific site better than another. And we're making sure that Dolphin will support either one or both. After a few days of head-scratching we think we have a universal model that should work for symmetrical and asymmetrical connections, support sharing groups (Circles AND Lists) and may be selectively adjusted for specific needs of your community sites.


Act 5. Round of applause. 

I know, I know... this one is only coming when you get to "lick the buttons". And, you absolutely need to know exactly (or approximately-exactly) when. 

The only update so far is this:

Dolphin 7.0.7 is almost ready - we're integrating that permissions control lists modification from AntonLV; just finished with iPhone App upgrade (3rd-party "apps" support); and now work on Android App. A week or so to go.

Dolphin 8 - what you see in Trac isn't all, but we do move slowly now - mostly due to extensive research and planning. We're dying to show you what we've got, but it's not time yet. Hey, it is worth the wait.


p.s. If I could, I'd put the whole world into my private "Friends" circle and would require a confirmation.

p.p.s. On second thought, confirmaiton would only be an act of attention seeking, since I'd share my updates with unconfirmed friends anyway.

p.p.p.s These P.S.s  look lame in blog posts and emails and are OK in "real" letters. Why? Because computer technology allows you to go back and freaking write what you forgot to write in the main letter body. So, no need to pull the "how it work in real life" stunt.

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i want boonex integrate with chinese alipay peyment .that is what i really needed.
Hi Andrew:
ok, maybe this is not definitely the place to ask you this, but it is urgent anyway,
where can we (the professional translators for dolphin software) get the new keys for the new 7.0.7 version in advance so we can start work with the translators BEFORE the new versions see the light? We have a lot of customers all around the world using our languages versions and we should have them always updated so there's no delay for them to receive the new langs Keys in all different languages.
Thank see more you & keep up the good work!!!
Your point of view is very interesting and fully agree that a universal model will be the best solution for D8-Social Networks!
But one important thing I want to say you is: Try to finish Dolphin 8 before Google opens Google+ for everyone, because all these guys out there would already be so bugged after their shift from Facebook to Google+, that they won't switch to a third social network.
You are doing a very good job!
Keep it up!

P.S. (Yes, I still use these P.S.s even with our computer see more technology ;-) ): Don't be cross with me. I'm sorry about my bad English.
im not concerned about d8, as long we get a stable and working d7. Once that is out, you take all the time you need and do your research and planning for d8.
i don't understand what andrew say? :lol:
Anton's permissions integrated sound like a really good move. Could you also look at doing better alerts - something like that "ultimate notifier" mod - that is the other one I thought had base functionality. Really happy to hear this will be in the next version.
iDea is Good, but to implement in a creative approach is where we can pass or fail!
Well I think its time to start your own Dolphin social startap )) Its really can help with your reserches ! And community will see the truth XD
will be 7.0.7 the last version of dolphin? and than you guys will just work on 8, right?
dolphin 8 will be a full different system, so i cant upload from 7.0.7 to 8...
without lose my mods. is this correct?

ps: i love ps. ^^ and note: i love dolphin and havent problems if 7.0.7 will be the last version.
i hope just that the most problems will be solve. thank you!!
Andrew Boon
There definitely will be 7.0.8 and maybe more of those. And no, 8.0 won't be _completely_ different. Sone mods may still work or would require minor changes. There's a lot of base chnages in 8.0, but it is still based on same system.
Does any one really think Dolphin will ever be on par with giants like Facebook or Google+ ?
Better yet why would you want it to be?

I want to supply the needs of a niche of people who matter to me and have similar goals and aspirations. I don't want to be Big Brother Facebook or rule the world.

Unity's goal is to Unite people. Dolphin doesn't need to be a clone of anything else or a lemming following the big boys over the cliff.

Dolphin needs be a free spirit, to chart it's own course see more and create it's own wake. At least that's my personal school of thought.

I don't want to be the biggest, I want to be the best for my niche.

Facebook has it's benefits. One being that all these people are already gathered there wandering aimlessly around following Big Brother. It's a good place to advertise or export select contacts into your own niche.
Below is the legacy version of the Boonex site, maintained for Dolphin.Pro 7.x support.
The new Dolphin solution is powered by UNA Community Management System.