Pipes, valves, and social networks

This is a chat room.
The tube is a message bus. When a sender pushes a message into it, it just comes out on the other side, and everyone receives it.
This is e-mail.
We’ve added a valve on the sender’s side. It lets the sender control to whom the message goes out. On the receiving side there’s nothing, you can get messages from everyone – look into your spam folder for proof.
This is Twitter.
Now there’s a valve on the receiver’s side. Everything you publish is public, but you only get messages from senders you follow.
This is Facebook.
The two valves on both sides are interlocked. Opening them to someone enables sending and receiving messages.
This is Google+ Circles.
The valves are independent. The red valve controls the receivers of message; this is the circle a message is published to. The green valve is a circle of of the recipient. The message only gets through if the sender is also in the receiver’s circles.
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About

Christian is a software architect/developer. He lives in Germany, reads a lot, and likes cycling.

Posted in Uncategorized
2 comments on “Pipes, valves, and social networks
  1. Eric says:

    Excellent description. What I find most interesting is that you can place anyone you wish into one of your own circles and believe you are pushing data to them all day long — but if they have not added you to one of their circles then nothing comes through.

    What would be nice is to be able to selectively block another person’s Circle.

    For instance, if you have added me to your C# circle and your PurpleDaiseys circle yet I did not want to hear about your gardening tips, I could block posts that you submit to PurpleDaiseys.

    • Christian says:

      Yeah but then you’d have groups, and groups require mutual membership – both sender and receiver have to agree that they’re in the same group at the same time. The novelty of Circles is the asymmetric approach. Circles are primarily filters for people, not topics.

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