February 15, 2009

You Don't Have 5,000 Facebook Friends, But You're Impacted Anyway

While rumors say that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team will open up the network's friend limits in 2009, eliminating the often controversial 5,000 friend ceiling, a good number of highly visible people have found their engagement on the network capped, giving away friend connections on what's essentially a "first come, first serve" basis. If you're friend 5,001, you're out of luck, even if, in theory, you provide more value than friend #398 and #2,423 do. And before you say you're in no danger of ever reaching this cap (as I am not either), it turns out that Facebook's limits have something of a trickle-down effect on other networks.

Major reasons Facebook's limits have legs include:
  • Fewer contacts to sync with other networks.
  • Reduced exposure to evangelists.
  • Reduced visibility of the friend's friends.
  • A good number of people with an actual need for more friend or business connections.
This morning, we discussed the impact of the network's limits on FriendFeed, which, by the way, has no limits to how many people you can follow or who can follow you.

See: Facebook's 5,000 Friend Limit Has a Ripple Effect Across Social Networks