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Your Social Media Friends Are Idiots, But We Can Fix That

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When I signed into Yahoo!'s (YHOO) social television application IntoNow, I was dismayed that, relatively speaking, nobody uses it.

Yahoo! purchased the startup when it was just 12 weeks old in April 2011. But, since the acquisition and a subsequent executive shuffle (as reported, at the time, by All Things D), the first I had heard of IntoNow was the other night while using Yahoo! Screen on my iPad Air.

Inside Yahoo! Screen, Yahoo! includes IntoNow on the second page of a sidebar that lists other available apps, such as Yahoo! Finance and the stunning Yahoo! Weather.

Typically the combination of "none of my friends use this thing" and "lack of recall" would leave nothing but a sour taste in my mouth. But, in this case, it played right into something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately.

Creating Irrelevant Social Networks

The experience of downloading an app, logging in and seeing that none of my friends use it was a bit weird. Not simply because nobody uses what looks like a promising platform, but because the norm for these types of sign-up processes tends to be ...

You create a username, agree to some terms and then, like clockwork, see a list of all your random Facebook (FB) friends, Twitter (TWTR) followers and mail contacts who are using the app. It suggests you "follow" or "connect" with these people and "invite" folks in your network not on the app to try it out.

Often, this connect in bulk approach ends up degrading the ensuing user experience. It, for all intents and purposes, can connect you with idiots. At least that's what John Locke would call them if he were on Facebook. 

Case in point ... signing up for Rdio, the excellent streaming Internet radio service.

It's been so long since I joined Rdio, I'm not quite sure exactly how the sign-up process works. But it's something like the above, where you're told who you know on Rdio and prompted to follow them. As friends sign up for Rdio, you receive a notification suggesting you connect.

This approach creates, at least for me, a situation where my network ends up something like a carbon copy/hybrid of my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I see all the same people doing the same style of things -- only musically -- they do on the aforementioned social networks.

There's not much beyond the obvious I have in common with most of these people musically. We have already reminisced about drinking beers under the viaduct on Hyde Park Boulevard while listening to Springsteen. And outside the exception of high school best friend Chris Raymond turning me onto the band Cravin' Melon (check them out!), I'm not discovering anything that'll stick as a result of being exposed to their listening. The inverse likely holds true.

The Internet radio example, using Rdio, is one of many. Sign up for any service and that's what you tend to get -- prompts to follow the very same, often irrelevant (for discovery purposes in this new venue) people you follow on the other social (or otherwise) networks you're part of.

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