For some reason this Google Alert struck me as odd. I previously described how Google Alerts showed me that Google is dividing the web into different spheres, for example the websphere, the blogosphere, the newssphere, the ‘commentosphere’ etc. This Alert however, does not so much seem to point to a specific sphere but to a popular practice within spheres: friending, adding, connecting.
Facebook made this practice clearly visible with the introduction of the News Feed that displayed all your actions for all your friends to see. These actions stay within the walled garden of Facebook and are not indexed by Google.
However these actions now seem to be considered valuable by Google as this Alert from Yahoo!s MyBlogLog shows:
This “friending” within social networking sites is one of its main characteristics and is often perceived to be part of a private sphere. In contrast, for many people, Google is a public sphere. Most social networking sites are not being indexed by Google, except for Twitter if you would (convincingly) argue it is a SNS. Fred Stutzman describes the “Message-centricity, as opposed to Profile-centricity” of Twitter as a way to reconceptualize our common perception of social networks. We could add Action-centricity as a way to describe how publicly exposed actions also play an important role in “locating the network around the profile.”
Google now seems to have moved from indexing public profiles and messages to the public actions that occur within these networks. Google is now expanding its original mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” with indexing actions on social networks.
Thanks to Esther Weltevrede for sharing some insightful thoughts on this matter on Skype.