Facebook: how to make Robert Scoble is Media’s life simpler

Since yesterday,  I have been following with great interest the “Robert Scoble is Media” meme.

A Yulbiz Montreal and Facebook friend, Sébastien Provencher, has made quite an impact in the blogosphere with his excellent “Robert Scoble is Media” post. He explains how Robert Scoble uses social networks to get attention: which comes to the point that “Scoble is Media”. Robert noticed the post by saying: My Facebook secret is out.

Today, Sébastien posted “Positive Reaction to my “Robert Scoble is Media” Post” and he asks:

1) how do we define “friends” now? And should Facebook create closed networks (within your larger network) for traditional friends & family? As a local search guy, I’ve always been interested in “trusted sources” (i.e. word of mouth) and I think that might be the beginning of a definition. I’ve already exchanged a couple of e-mails with Robert on this one and I’ll ask him for permission to share his thoughts on the “friends” definition.

2) Given the high-level of fragmentation, how do we manage all these new communication channels from an outbound messaging perspective?

3) And how do we filter the incoming messages i.e. what’s zeitgeist, what’s fringe and what’s noise?

4) and last (and not the least as it is my specialty), how does this impact traditional media?

Well, I’ve had a simple idea for point #1…

Facebook could have a “subscribe to” or “watch” feature, similar to Twitter‘s followers. The difference with Facebook’s “Add to friends” feature, would be that, the person you are watching does not have to accept you as a friend.

From the security options, you would be able to specify:

  • Allow anyone to watch my feed
  • Allow watchers to view my profile
  • Automatically subscribe to watchers’ feeds

I think that these options would be quite sufficient to allow Robert Scoble to use Facebook the way he uses it while making is life simpler. For Sébastien’s “I am Media” crowd, I think this would be quite welcome.

The only drawback I see is the “Friend” thing. Maybe people love to be in Robert’s friend list and would be less inclined to be “Followers” or “Watchers”. But, if Robert said he would get alerts from the watchers feeds, maybe the watchers wouldn’t mind since they could still get his attention and possibly be noticed?

I really wonder if this approach would get some traction near enough to what Robert got with the “Add me as your friend” approach. Probably the only way to see if this would work for Facebook would be for them to give it a try?