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Negative Affinity, Anger, and Conflict in Social Media

The world's most popular social network is beyond friendly, no matter your view or affiliation your only choice is to Friend or Like. Facebook runs on positive affinity. One app developer sees this problem and the opportunity behind it.

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Justin Bieber: Public Enemy #1

EnemyGraph is turning the happy-go-lucky world of Facebook on its head. It opens the door to express the further reality of human interaction through conflict. It allows people to name their enemies. Users can identify anything on facebook -- person, company group or anything else -- as an enemy. And if Enemy isn’t quite enough, Archenemy is waiting in the wings for the truly repulsive people out there.

“Most social networks attempt to connect people based on affinities: you like a certain band or film or sports team, I like them, therefore we should be friends,” The app’s creator Dean Terry wrote. “But people are also connected and motivated by things they dislike. Alliances are created, conversations are generated, friendships are stressed, stretched, and/or enhanced.”

The data generated by EnemyGraph enables companies to explore a whole new world of data. Where previously the positive actions indicated by likes, +1’s, and pins were our only view into the minds of consumers, now our understanding of social networking can expand into the world of conflict.

EnemyGraph also draws attention to conflicting opinions between friends, “Facebook runs queries to find affinities,” Terry wrote, ”EnemyGraph runs what we call dissonance queries. So if you have said you like, say, Portlandia on your profile page, and in our app one of your friends has declared them an ‘enemy’ we will post this ‘dissonance report’ in the app. In other words we point out a difference you have with a friend and offer it up for conversation, as opposed to a similarity. Relationships always include differences, and often these differences are a critical part of the fabric of a friendship. In the country club atmosphere of Facebook and in its platform such differences are ignored. It’s not part of their ‘social philosophy.’ ”

Declaring war on the friendliness of Facebook, this app is filling a need felt by many users and becoming remarkably popular. The current webpage expresses Terry’s appreciation and the struggle EnemyGraph’s servers are experiencing because of the popularity boom. With its runaway success, expect negative affinity applications to expand into other social networks and be a new source of knowledge in our data world.

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dislike button concept

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