The difference between connections and relationships
I used to use the words connection and relationship interchangeably. Let me explain why I don’t anymore because I think it sheds some light on how building relationships works over time.
This is a post from a few years back, but Bernard Vatant made me think of it just now as he was musing in a post about the difference between focusing on collections rather than people here on Google+.
I am a big fan of Collections because I think that they take closer to a true “shared interest graph.” With that said, I think that G+ may have swung a bit too far in that direction. If circles represent our relationships with people and collections our relationships with topics, the circle has largely been eclipsed by the collection and that’s a very narrow view on how people connect via shared interests. Yes, we might first connect around a topic, but over time, as we get to know someone, our interest in them stretches beyond that shared topic. That evolution of relationships around shared interests is something that Google seems to have lost a bit over this past couple years, and it’s a shame. Or, to quote from this piece:
The first few times I go in for my haircut, it’s all about my hair. Eventually, the barber and I may form a relationship though, and begin to actually care about the answers we give each other about our lives. Our connection matures; it becomes less transactional and more relational.