The problem was that I was concerned my worlds were intermingling too much -- more than I, or those in my Twitter and Facebook circles, wanted them to. I do a fair amount of outreach on Twitter for the various projects that constitute my living. My friends on Facebook, though originally made up largely of professional friends -- because soccer Moms and college friends hadn't yet discovered it -- had turned more into a place where they ruled the day. And, though no offense is meant to my "professional" Facebook friends, having discussions about why the kids have yet another half day off from school seems much more in context on Facebook to me than ones debating the virtues of the iPhone 4.
So, as Twitter and Facebook began to evolve, I began to grow uncomfortable with the spillover between the two. Did the professional crowd get tired of my 140-character laments about my almost daily trips to CVS? Did friends and family wonder why I would express any interest in recruiting them for a panel at the Social Media Insider Summit (plug!) or share a story about market share of the Android platform? Fortunately, everyone was too polite to write obnoxious stuff about my confused life on my wall, but still ... it was high time that I tried to bring method to my social networking madness.
But let's get back to Siegler's central question: do quandaries like mine mean Facebook should adopt a friend and a follower system? That's a tough one.
You could say that social networking -- even just Facebook itself -- already has such a thing. Twitter can be for Twitter-type relationships, while Facebook can be for friends. You can also separate your Facebook friends into groups, but I don't think that really solves the problem that Siegler sees.
His theory is that, with 500 million users, for many people Facebook is the be-all and end-all for social networking, and thus, particularly as it adds new features like Facebook Places, it has to adjust its social graph accordingly. Do we really want to share our whereabouts with our 400 Facebook friends? He says:
" [I]n their drive to be the center of the social web and promote sharing (of links, of data, of information, of everything), Facebook is mutating. The problem is that the original social graph isn't built for this mutation. And we're going to see that very clearly with things like this new location element.
"Facebook wants us to share things more openly, but with Places, they have launched a feature that most people will want to keep close to the vest. They can't have it both ways, right?"
So, what do you think? Should Facebook introduce a friends-and-followers system, or is this whole idea just a bit of late August mental meandering? A problem that already has good solutions?