Conversation for a great cause and getting social
links for 2007-11-28

Et tu? Why "fram" could be the downfall of social networks

iStock_000003853460XSmall.jpgWhat's worse than spam in your inbox?

Spam from your friends!

I've been getting so much of it that I've given it its own name, Fram (short for friend-spam). This differs from bacn, because your friends are generating the emails/updates/requests/invitations, not from a subscription.

Fram has really taken root with the rise in popularity of Facebook. Facebook's viral, social nature is perfect for spreading these messages, invites, applications and other bits like wildfire. So how does this work you ask. It's simple really and I don't think a lot of people even know they're doing it. On Facebook ( every time you do something, it tells people about it. You join a group, you can tell your friends. Add an application? Why not invite your friends to enjoy it with you? Each one of those interactions sends an email. That's where Fram becomes a problem.

Picture 8.pngAs your network grows, the level of Fram can become overwhelming. If you have 25 friends that's one thing. If you have 100+ it becomes a pain. If you are a super connector with 500+ I don't know how you deal with the flood.

Another problem with Facebook/MySpace/everybody-else is the way they message you. Each of these sites sends you an email telling you you have an update. It doesn't send you the update, mind you, it just tells you you have an update. So, not only do you have an extra email, you have to log in to the site and deal with it there too.

Many blame spam for the downfall of email. Could Fram lead to the downfall of social networks? It could, but that tipping point is likely to be years down the road. It is one more hurdle that will paralyze most people just like spam has done with email. (Will there be Fram filters in the future?)

Here are the top five ways to prevent Fram:

  1. If you join a cause or group, don't invite me. I'll see it in my friend timeline and join if I am interested. I add all of my groups/apps from there.
  2. If you install an application you think I have to have, don't invite me. If I already have it installed I'll find you. Again, I'll see your addition in the timeline.
  3. If you're a corporation/band/whatever with a Fan page on Facebook, limit your messages to few and far between.
  4. If you're a group administrator, limit the emails to only those that add value to the group.
  5. If you're either of the previous two groups, focus on the value proposition for your members/fans. How are you adding value? If you just have a group/page to have one, you're in the wrong space.

What tips would you add to this list? Are you overwhelmed yet?

[Update:] This is definitely a hot topic. Hat tip to Iain Tait @ for pointing out this cartoon by the brilliant Hugh MacLeod.

Picture 19.png

Also, Mitch Joel posted the following two tweets on Twitter just a couple moments ago:
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To show you more of what I am talking about check out this quick diagram that shows what happens when I get a group/fan message on Facebook. Five individual messages are delivered to me in various ways.


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