The rise of social media has yielded a host of new economies. One of the biggest shift in these new economic systems is the rise of a new currency: friends lists.
This socal currency has led to a number of occupations, including traders in Friend’s Futures, where the exchange partners agree to swap a certain number of connections at a specified rate at a date in the future. The value of the securities in this case, a bundle of particular friends on a list, is dependant upon the size of that person’s friends list. That is to say, a friend with more than 300 friends is of considerably higher value to a futures trader than is a friend with a mere 50 friends.
The value of this currency can fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including how famous the friend in question is, and whether the person is currently involved in a public scandal or not. Other factors affecting the value of your friends bundle is how many of them play Zynga games such as Farmville or Mafia Wars, and how willing they are to spam other friends with requests for such games, and how many of the friends on your list are just friends with you for one reason only: to advertise to you their pet projects. If you have a friend who only posts promotional items, or who is only friends with you because you share a common Facebook application. To futures traders, these are highly volatile securities, which have a high value for covering short positions, but will unlikely last long enough to have value in the long term.
Things that can lower the value of your friends list are unsavory types, such as an old friend from High school whose job title is listed as “doxy.” Too many of these types of friends, and your own stock will start to plumet, and you could find yourself out of social capital and strapped for cash in a credit-unfriendly economy.
Depending on the trader, friends from your Facebook list can be worth more than your friends on LinkedIn. This is true of specialists in demographics and advertising, who are looking to advertise to people in a particular demographic, or who have “liked” a particular brand item.
In some cases, people have begun to measure their own worth by the size of their friends lists, frantically trying to make contact with anyone they’ve remotely been acquainted with, just to up their own numbers, and therefore, their sense of self-worth. These are the people that take every friend suggestion offered to them, whether they actually know the person or not. Actual friendship is not required, and in some cases, bitter enemies, focused on high-volume “friending,” have sent requests to people whose guts they hated, knowing that some of these people will accept the request to avoid rejecting the open hand of friendship. No one wishes to be rude in the new social economy, after all. That might just be really bad for business.
doxy (DOX – ee )- noun, Flemish - a woman of loose morals, a prostitute