Recently, i’ve been engaged in conversations about behaviors that occur on LiveJournal in relation to the articulated “Friends” element that occurs in many social network systems.
one i call crossfriending. it happens when people meet across mailing lists or other forums. they add each other and their friends list slowly converge after people talk to each other on the fringe overlaps.
the other i call social friending. it used to be that you went to a convention and met people. if you liked them, you would trade addresses (and probably lose them), phone numbers or even cities of origin. then came email addresses. but now you have a livejournal account and all that has to be remembered is a short line of text. the rest – location, domain, identity – is encoded in the address.
what’s interesting to watch is when people meet at local events and add each other afterwards. the jump in connections may take up to a week, but it’s actually visible and measurable.
This type of behavior on LJ could easily be describe Friendster connections as well.