I have been thinking further about the relationship model of the ‘Johari Window’ which was outlined in Saturday’s class and it has given me some small insight onto the success of Facebook and other social networking sites.
It takes a lot of effort on our own behalf to maintain the top-left quadrant in the Johari window: our Open information. The status-update features of social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter etc, provides a very low-friction method of letting your friends online know what you are doing. Thus enlarging that top-left quadrant of your Johari window with a far greater circle of people in a very efficient manner.
If I take some of friends in the US as an example of how this works off-line: after not speaking for months it becomes somewhat of a big deal to phone them to have a long catch-up. Equally when they visit Ireland you can spend lots of time informing each other of what has been happening in the last few years: essentially filling in that top-left quadrant.
Now look at the same scenario within a social-network enhanced world. It takes minimal effort for friends to update their status messages. ‘Knitting a sweater for my nephew.’ ‘Preparing for my quarterly evaluation tomorrow.’ ‘Going for my first extended bike ride in many a moon.’ Then on the other side of the window, equally little effort is required to read these. Just spending two minutes over coffee at my desk in the morning and I can have a update on the ‘open’ window quadrants of 30–40 friends and acquaintances.
This can in part explain the phenomenal success of social networking. In that it allows you to have a more open quadrant with your mid-level friends. Those whom are not your dearest friends, but whom you would probably be closer to if you were only more accessible to each other.