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Buddy list organized by importance Is your buddy list still out of control?

In our debut post, we recommended grouping your buddies by how often you chat with them. Just split your buddies into three groups: Frequent, Occasional, and Rare.

Interaction designer Joshua Kaufman liked our idea but favors a better way. Instead of frequency, Joshua divides his buddies by “importance,” using groups labeled Alpha, Beta and Gamma:

It’s not about how frequently you talk to people; it’s about how important they are to you right now. If someone is important to you, you’re often likely to talk to them frequently. Vice versa if they’re not important to you. But sometimes there’s someone who I don’t talk to frequently who suddenly becomes more important, for example, because I’m working with them on a project. In this case, moving them to a group called Frequent doesn’t make much sense. Instead, I move them to a group called Alpha ” as in –”most important–.

Kudos to Joshua for this smart and clever buddy list hack. Also, check out his tips for taming email and trimming your RSS feeds

So I’m curious, how do you organize your buddy list?


  • Sam Lu

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    7:09 am

    What a great idea! I’m going to do this right now. Currently I sort my contact list based on relationship (eg. Family, Friends, Old/Distant Friends) but this is much better.

  • dep

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    7:29 am

    I always use the groups “Close”, “Acquaintances”, and “Business” — This pretty much divides everyone in to one group or the other. Close for close friends and family.. Acquaintances for random buddies and people I don’t know well, and Business for work contacts.

  • Jasper

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    7:36 am

    pardon my ignorance, but what IM app is that? I’m guessing it’s iChat, but I’d like to be sure

  • ngader

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    7:43 am

    Check out the list – This must be a cylon ichat user then!

  • Alex Budkie

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    1:21 pm

    I’ve been using a system similar under the categories “inner circle, outer circle and proles”

  • becca

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    2:30 pm

    haha what a great idea! and as a fellow bsg + hp fan, i approve of your friends :)

  • Aman-About-Town

    gravatarMay 12, 2007
    1:40 am

    Ha! I love your “Buddy List!” You are a nerd after my own heart! :o)

  • mark

    gravatarMay 18, 2007
    4:20 pm

    Hide offline buddies for sure. You could do groups according to work and home. Depends on how many online friends you have.

    nice buddy list chanpory.

  • Mary

    gravatarJun 22, 2008
    1:12 pm

    How do I send my buddy list from my old screen name to my new screen name?