I was reading ReadWriteWeb’s post on social networks and filtering and was immediately reminded of the Tangerine Toad’s Your Brand is Not My Friend. RWW’s Corvida is looking at the large amount of "noise" that occurs in social networks and suggests that filters are the necessary next step in the evolution of social networks.
However, one of the things that I most like about social networks is that the WAY that participants actually USE the social platform is what determines its value. Take Twitter for example. If it was down to Twitter, we would still be answering the question "what are you doing". Instead, the Twitter community have moved in a completely different direction, finding connections, conversation and activism a far better use of the 140 character micro-blogging format.
When you add the concept of personal branding to this, you can begin to see the importance of conversation. In this Age of Conversation, we are what we talk about. We are known by what we say and who we say it to. Our reputations rely on the connections we make, the friendships we build and the content we create. The platforms that we use to carry on these engagements are, to an extent, irrelevant — afterall, the almost all aggregate under the all-seeing eye of Google.
So while, yes, filtering would be a nice addition to most social network platforms (especially when you start to link them), the best form of filter is your friend. Not the platform. If you take the time to listen, learn and TRUST, then that personal network will pay back your time and effort many times over.