The issue: Most social networks only allow you to “friend” or “unfriend” a person—a binary choice. Although a few networks have additional degrees of granularity (“co-workers” / “show only my public profile”), in general it is assumed that the relationship between individuals is symmetrical.
Fig 1: The familiar but insufficiently expressive “friend” button.
Proposal: To capture additional asymmetrical relationships between individuals, we need to account for the case of:
1. “Friend” one way, unknown / indifferent relationship in the other direction
2. “Enemy” one way, any relationship in the other direction
We can label these buttons “stalk” and “vendetta” respectively, and greatly increase the amount of information available for data-mining in the relationship graph!
Fig 2: Additional buttons in action. Now we have captured crucial but previously-ignored information between individuals!
And a final view of what the user interface might look like for such a site:
Fig 3: The final interface mockup
PROS: Increases ability of social networks to capture the complex relationships between individuals.
CONS: None, this is a great idea that your Internet-enabled business should implement immediately.
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