Recently I’ve noticed a problem with friends on Facebook and have been trying to come up with a solution.
Problem: Suppose you have two people, John Smith and Jane Stevens. They meet at a bar and hit it off, and the next day they go on Facebook to friend each other. Both people have their Facebook profiles set so they are hidden from search, and so the two cannot find each other.
Now, as far as I can tell, the only way to currently solve this is for one person to change their privacy settings so the other person can find them. But that sounds less than ideal.
I guess there are a few ways of getting around this. Assuming both people have smartphones, one could build a Bump-like feature into the Facebook app, where both people bump phones and it adds the two of them as friends. This would also eliminate the need to go on later and search for someone, as the friendship would be created instantly.
The other potential solution I’ve come up with is to build some sort of interface where each person can go on and sort of whitelist the other person as a possible friend. So in this case, John Smith would list ‘Jane Stevens’ and vice versa. From there, one could build a script to match up people so that when each person lists the other, both are issued a message like, “Jane, a John Smith is looking for you. Add as friend/reject?” This way neither user is flooded with requests, and they can both act in relative privacy.
It’s an interesting problem, and one that I haven’t really read too much about. Perhaps there hasn’t been a need to build a solution for such an issue; I’m not sure.