FriendBrowsing

So, I really enjoy reading other people’s friend lists on LiveJournal; it’s like being able being able to spectate in other cliques’ conversations without them even knowing you’re there. Also, it’s interesting to find out who your friends’ friends are when they’re not hanging around with you. I’ve even gone so far to bookmark Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s friends page because he’s already gone through all the trouble of “friending” interesting people, and by reading his feed, I don’t have to make the effort myself. I even get irritated with PNH when he “friends” a feed I’m not interested in — damn it, Patrick, you’re diluting my reading experience!

(I suppose I could simply replicate PNH’s feed on my own friend feed, minus the occasional feed I find pointless, but there’s something profoundly creepy about replicating someone’s feed nearly in toto, and anyway, PNH’s feed and mine already have a high enough incidence of repeatage as it is.)

So, my question for those of you with LiveJournal accounts: is this sort of “FriendBrowsing” that I’m doing at all the usual thing? I mean, it should be — all those friends pages are just there waiting to be read, all the better to help you form an opinion of the people whose friend pages they are — but maybe I’m just a freak or something (in this particular instance; let’s leave the issue of my general freakishness for another time). Also, to feed my pathology, if you do read other people’s friends pages, are there ones you recommend? I can always use another pile of reading material.

22 thoughts on “FriendBrowsing

  1. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s one of the perks of getting a paid account. The username/friendsfriends/ page aggregates all of your friends’ friends pages.

  2. I enjoy doing this myself. There are people who I read on a regular basis who are from two times removed from my actual friend’s page. A “friend of a friend” sort of thing. I read them, but very rarely comment because they wouldn’t have any idea who I am. I think of it as being in “stealth friends” mode.

  3. I do this too, although not more than once a month or so. If I find someone interesting, they go on my friends list.

  4. I read other Friends pages from time to time, but only if they have lists that are significantly more diverse than mine. I can think of about half a dozen who only have people in our mutual social circle on their flists.

  5. Don’t know about usual or not, but I don’t do much of it. I usually find reading list fodder by links or by noticing that they say interesting things in comments to people already on my reading list.

  6. I do it all the time. You can even set up filters so that you only view parts of your list depending on the mood your in. For example, my FiancĂ© has hers divided into “real people” “livejournal people” “communities” ect. It makes for quick reading of specifically what you are looking for.

    I did not know about the friendsfriends thing though, as I have a paid account that is pretty *bleapin* cool.

  7. I don’t read other people’s friends pages regularly. Occasionally, maybe, but unless there’s a lot of info available there I find interesting right away, I generally won’t bother returning.

  8. I use other people’s friends pages as the exclusive source for my LiveJournal reading. I have a LiveJournal account, but that’s just so I don’t have to comment anonymously.

    I could set up my own friends list, but even the least interesting people on the lists that I do read occasionally say something interesting, so I’m willing to put up with the annoyance. Also, I’m lazy.

    And really, I run two weblogs already– I think my Internet time-wasting quota is full.

  9. the only problem with friendslist scanning is you can sometimes miss things. i use a filter on mine because i have a lot of different kinds of feeds going through–news, people, blogs outside lj, for example.

    a lot of people seem to do it, though.

  10. I often go looking through the friends of friends pages, because it’s a good way to find people whose LJ’s I’d be interested in, or who I know, but just haven’t connected with their LJ yet.

    I try to stick to reading my own friends list on a regular basis though. I like the colours and layout and sometimes (without naming names) some people have really hard-to-read fonts and colours chosen.

  11. I tend to just friend people if I want to read their journals. I find new friends when they’re referenced in current friends’ journals (which requires that the 1st tier friend actually post into their journal rather than using it just as a gateway to their own friend’s list. Also, if they keep a journal, and a FoaF comments in that journal often enough, I may browse their journal, and possibly add them.

    Since, by and large, the only stuff I make friends only is to restrict known quantities (say: my parents). I also don’t care if I’m friended-back, or if the person cares about being friended by a stranger… if they’re posting publically, I don’t care if I’m a voyeur…

    Livejournal used to have the motto: “Because you think people care” and that impacted me deeply.

  12. I think if folks weren’t meant to read each others’ friends lists (and they are one of the place one finds new interesting journals to read), the link to them wouldn’t be as up-front-and-center as it is.

  13. I assumed that was the purpose of the friends-lists. I prefer the dumpster-diving “random” searches, where you just go and read what strangers are writing. Doing that, I have found two fun LJ’s I now read on a regular basis. I have also found a few that are slightly less appealing then chunky dumpster-scrapings. It’s a grab bag…you just hope nothing icky grabs back.

  14. I have at least two friends who want to read iterations of my friends list without adding anyone to their own, so I set up public filters that they can access at will (called by each of their names).

    They don’t get the friendslocked entries that I can see (if there’s been mutual friending, anyway), but then, if that’s what they wanted, they’d go ahead and make their own friendslist, eh? Eh.

  15. My opinion? Browsing your friends’ Friend pages is about as usual as…well as usual as meeting new people. One rather interesting journal that I subscribe to but am not even recognized by, is http://livejournal.com/users/guizo (or just guizo). This person posts their own art and sometimes short yet nonsensical(?) blurbs. The question mark is indicative of the fact that, when I read this blurbs, I get the creeping suspicion that they may make sense in another place at another time. I’ll leave that determination up to those with the capacity to make it.

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