Honestly, I don’t mean to be unfriendly about it, but being webmaster and admin on a public site and project lead for public projects for over 5 years has been a bit of a drain on my ability to distinguish between nice, cool, well-meaning virtual friends and the people I actually rely on, my real world friends and family, and right now, I need the latter. I have several friends who separate, blend and mix these things seamlessly but I’ve had less success at doing that.
Acting as a representative for other organizations, responsible for the public face of these projects made it a constant struggle to not be misunderstood simply by speaking as I do around the people that know me. My non-virtual friends and family occasionally forgive me, but more important, they always know where I’m coming from.
I love the idea of streamlining communications between my friends and family but I don’t know what it means to have 100s of ‘friends’ where I have no clue who they are. I’m sure it makes sense if you’re Tim O’Reilly but not for me. My understanding is that many of these public people have the equivalent of an unlisted number or a fake name for hotel registering and have ‘private’ Facebook and Twitter accounts they use for their personal life. That sounds like a lot of work to me but it may come to that.