After your initial surge of people connecting to your social graph what do you do to strengthen it? Launch a “who to follow” feature. It worked for Facebook. It’s working for Twitter. And now Google Buzz is going to give it a try.
As they announced tonight in their Buzz feed, the next time users load up the Buzz tab in Gmail, they should be greeted with a box suggesting other people to follow. Google says these will be based on people you frequently email and/or chat with. It also depends on your social connections on other networks (aka your social circle), and activity on Buzz. Only people with public profiles will appear as suggestions, Google says.
If you find a person you like, you can click a button to follow them. Or if you don’t like a suggestion, you can click an “ignore” button and they won’t show up again. Pretty standard stuff at this point, but it works. What was so great about Twitter’s implementation of this a few weeks ago was that it was front and center on Twitter.com. I started noticing a huge uptick in people following me, and I found a lot of people to follow that way as well. Of course, they still need a way to collapse that box so it doesn’t always have to be in your face. It looks as if Buzz’s box will have a close (and “Done”) button.
Buzz’s implementation may be slightly more controversial because once again they’re looking at your email/chat habits to suggest people to you. Sometimes these aren’t people you necessarily want as friends on social networks. But the ignore button should work fine there.