What is the point of having friends in Duolingo?
Since one can't chat with his friends, see their achievements or even get notified when they participate in a discussion or comment, what is the point of having friends?
They've promised to introduce some method of personal messaging. If they ever do, my friends list will contain a number of those I'm most interested in communicating with.
Agreed that at this point there's no doubt it's mostly a legacy feature. Some may be motivated by a leaderboard - useful for comparing progress in all languages.
Duolingo used to let you see your friends achievements and discussions they posted. I guess they just keep it since a lot of people had "friends" on here for the competition before they introduced clubs. I miss seeing what my friends are doing but that format is not the focus of duolingo. I still look at my friends list to see who is active and that does motivate me sometimes.
Same for "subscribing" and "following", this is a way to track down a user. The uses for tracking down vary from website to website. It mainly depends on the website, and some websites have more of a use for it than others.
On DuoLingo, you mostly use it to track the user's activity, and perhaps a few other small things.
Hope this helped!
If it was like a language-exchange, or some way to send messages and interact, I think it'd be a massive part of the site and very useful. I'd like to see it, and regardless would like people like that who I can talk with even if its not directly through this site (anyone know such a place for language-exchange friends, or just language-loving friends generally?).