Mike Arauz from Digital agency Undercurrent illustrates his conclusions on online friendship. He says that instead of worrying about terms like ‘friend’ companies should ask how do they move their friends from acquaintanceship to “best friendliness”?
Over on his site Arauz describes each stage in detail and while my own experience with PSFK doesn’t allow me to fully agree with the steps and even the actions he considers fit in each stage it’s a very useful piece to base discussion around. In summary:
Passive Interest e.g. repeat visits, blog readers, fans, followers, etc.
Active Interest e.g. people who leave comments on your blog, wall comments, @replies on Twitter, etc.
Sharing e.g. social bookmarking, retweeting links, posting links and content to my own sites and profiles, etc
Public Dialogue e.g. public @replies, referrals in a blog post, and references posted to our various sites and profiles, etc.
Private Dialogue e.g. exchanging email, TXT messages, IM, and direct messages on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc.
Advocacy e.g. same tools as Sharing, but different language; usually entails recommending the person or brand, and not just a specific piece of content
Now I write about it, maybe the issue is that Arauz sees one axis of friendship when there could be a two or three. Maybe one axis could be about a friend’s motivations, another about the balance of value of the friendship to either me or them and another about that friend’s social activity.