Flickr recently announced a new feature to connect you with people that you may know, called “People You May Know.” Its blog says it is “a powerful new tool to help you find and connect with even more members of the Flickr community.” Within your contacts, you can explore other people that share your connections, as well as a brief summary of their profile.
Sound familiar? Facebook has a strikingly similar tool running along the side of your Facebook home page. On Facebook, 2 or 3 potential friends are listed every few times you log in. This short-list, also called “People you May Know,” includes their picture, name, number of mutual friends you share, a sample list of these mutual friends, and the ability to add your new Facebook friend right from your home page.
As Flickr launched this new option, it also integrated the ability to pull in contacts from other social media sites you may be using, such as your email and — get ready — from Facebook. Whereas Facebook recommends friends using only shared connections on Facebook, Flickr recommends people another Flickr user based on a greater profile of both your social media lives.
Flickr’s “People You May Know” tool also provides more information to instantly discern a potential new connection. The quality of a user (number of photos) and a greater sense of your connection with them is available with this tool, as more “contacts in common” are given in comparison to the application on Facebook. (On Flickr, a short-list of five thumbnail are shown, as well as the total number.) Considering how little time the average person spends on a single web page (about 56 seconds, according to June 2010 survey by Nielsen) these details will likely help Flickr users make good decisions about who they friend.
Whereas the front-ends of both “People You May Know” formats are, in the end, not drastically different, the real difference may eventually be seen in how this new tool affects privacy for Flickr users. As this tool now provides some data for Flickr users to screen their connections, users are still not provided with as much as Facebook users to screen connections. Facebook users of the “People You May Know” tool are provided a complete list of “Mutual Friends” – a testament to Facebook’s awareness of looming privacy complaints regarding their platform. Flickr users are, in contrast, provided the total of shared connections, but cannot access a complete list if it exceeds five.
Considering all the similarities, it is interesting to see that Flickr didn’t copy the tool completely from Facebook — especially the features affecting users’ privacy, which has been one of the top concerns of social media users within the last few years.
Do you want to connect with people you know on Flickr? Or is this yet another social media feature Flickr should do without?