I noticed an interesting trend in my Facebook feed over the last couple days, coworkers have been adding id Software to their employment history… well, readding, since all of these coworkers already had id Software listed as an element of their Facebook profile.
I found out the source today, when I received a request for verification that a coworker works with me here at id. They do, so I approved the request and even added additional metadata to specify the duration. Much to my surprise, this added a new (redundant) entry to my Facebook profile and immediately blasted out to my entire friends list that this had been added.
A strange redundancy, so I investigated a little bit more. It turns out that there are three id Software’s on Facebook:
Really, all this duplication is silly. While on the small scale, it’s possible to quantify relationships between groups of coworkers, it’s simultaneously completely impossible to do any big picture analysis like “employees of id Software”.
Most importantly, it’s really annoying when these kinds of sloppy data practices turn into news articles on my friends pages. It’s one thing to need to reformat the employment section of my profile, just to keep things neat and tidy and modernized. It’s another thing for my tidy efforts to spam friends with redundant information.
The solution is simple, I think. They just need a way for the Facebook community to nominate pages for merge. I should be able to message to Facebook support that id Software, the interest; id Software, the company; and id Software, Games/Toys are the exact same place and have them all merged into the most feature-ful setup: the page managed by the marketing team. That merger should also clean up everyone’s profile pages automatically, just reconciling the relationships all on the new/same object.
Really, this sort of conclusion should be obvious. If you want to build a “social graph” that includes basically every likable item on Earth, you’re going to need to plan on some upkeep/overhead to keep it nice, and base those efforts on successful efforts to do the same thing already online. (Like Wikipedia.)