Why Friend Feed Will and Won’t Hit the Mainstream
For those of you who are unfamiliar with FriendFeed, FriendFeed is a service where you aggregate the various publishing and social networking sites on the internet that you are involved with. From these various services a feed of your online social activity is created. This feed can include your blog and your Twitter activity and your Flickr activity and about two dozen other sites where you might participate online.
What FriendFeed does is then mash up your feed with everyone else’s feeds to create a sort of online meta community. FriendFeed then allows conversations directly on their site — and this is where FriendFeed shines the most. These conversations are like little brush fires that pop up here and there and people pop in and out of them giving their opinion on everything from why Microsoft will buy Facebook to the latest news on the Obama campaign to which camera format is better to shoot in JPG or RAW.
FriendFeed does take a little getting used to. As you add more and more people to follow you get inundated with more and more information, what some call noise. Your favorite photographer on Flickr, for instance, might drive you batty with their constant Twittering about what they had for snack every five minutes. This is where the power of hiding things comes in on FriendFeed. With FriendFeed there are tons of different ways to selectively hide parts of the data that is being fed to you. You can, for instance, hide someone’s Twitter stream but keep their Flickr photos or vice versa. You can also hide entire services. If you don’t care about what music people are liking on LastFM at all you can just tell FriendFeed to ignore all LastFM entries.
Louis Gray has a nice write up on some of the ways that you can filter out data on FriendFeed.
One of the best things about FriendFeed is that it gives you much of what you get from your favorite sites on the internet but in better ways. For instance, I hate that Flickr’s “recent photos by your contacts” page limits itself to only the last 5 photos from your contacts. I hate it when I miss a photo on Flickr because a contact of mine chose to upload 10 photos that morning instead of 5 and I only see the last 5. With FriendFeed I get them all — plus I get to see what photos my friends are favoriting on Flickr as well. I’ve already found so many great new kick ass photos on Flickr that way.
Whether or not FriendFeed will go mainstream is still up in the air. Robert effectively argues both sides of the argument. But one thing is for certain. Many of the early adopters have already arrived at FriendFeed and it is one hell of a fun place to hang out on the internets. Lots of critics are also already ripping on FriendFeed — in the same way that they were ripping Twitter (now everybody’s darling) two years ago. I remember people calling Twitter a “fad.” Now those same people are all on Twitter. FriendFeed is like Twitter but even better, it’s like (ok, I’ll say it) Twitter on steroids.
If you’re not already on FriendFeed come check it out. Join the party. You can add me as a contact on FriendFeed here — I’m currently having a conversation over there about the things that I find addicting in life: digital photography, Flickr, Tommy’s cheeseburgers, those tangy sea salt and vinegar blue chips in the blue bag, coffee, Red Bull, and oh yeah, Friend Feed.