Picnic 08: Matt Jones of Dopplr: Friendship Should Be Considered Harmful

Picnic 08: Matt Jones of Dopplr: Friendship Should Be Considered Harmful
Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 25 september 2008

At Picnic 08, Matt Jones from Dopplr gave a short talk on his concerns around the focus on ‘friends’ in social networks. He said that he was worried that with the development of sites like Fake Friend Follower the social space seems ‘narrower’ than it was a couple of years ago. He highlighted this quote from Merlin Mann:

“If you need to appear on an internet list to know whether you’re someone’s friend, you may have problems a computer can’t solve.”

Jones argued that ‘friends’ is not the only social role we play – and should not be the only service our tools create. He said that online friendships should be considered harmful:

“At Dopplr we don’t talk about friends – we talk about an informational relationship. Sharing an item of information with someone you trust. We make sure that information is asymmetrical. We are modeling permissions – it doesn’t seem so hurtful.”

Later in a Q&A Matt talked about building services that gave users superpowers. He also described how he learned by being an architect that it was important to create delight in everything you build – it’s what sets apart buildings from architecture. He added that he thought that developers are so narrow in terms of the social space: that they’re guilty of not giving enough delight in these services.

Here’s Matt Jones presentation for those of you who want a flick through:



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