Tag Archives: FriendFeed

The FriendFeed chain of command

One of the things that has made Twitter so popular is its simplicity and the 140 character limit.FriendFeed

The reason I’m hardly on Twitter anymore is because it is too simple and has a 140 character limit.

Yep, I can happily live with it going mainstream and having @oprah around doesn’t faze me at all (as opposed to the reactions noted here). Even all the ‘social media experts’ spamming me isn’t really a problem.

For me, its the richness that I’m getting on FriendFeed these days that is really interesting. I made the switch about two weeks ago when the new real-time beta went live. Being able to write longer messages, reply with longer messages, and vote up the items of interest is difficult to do without. It’s like Facebook but a little nicer. I’m liking it there.

But there’s still a few issues. The main one is that many of the people I’ve subscribed to have numerous sources coming into FriendFeed. This results in a lot of duplication. A common example is when people use ping.fm to publish to multiple social networks, that all get aggregated into FriendFeed. Thus I’ll see the same message from them shown 3 or 4 times in a row. Here’s a typical example:

FriendFeed duplication

Chain of Command

So, there just needs to be a simple ‘chain of command’ in place.

Here’s how I’ve set mine up now:

  • I have setup FriendFeed to be the source of all my ‘content’ including messages, comments, and posts from my blogs
  • I post messages to FriendFeed
  • FriendFeed will publish this to Twitter
  • Facebook pulls in my Twitter feed

Thus my message only appears once on each.

I’ve also streamlined my networks, so I no longer post to Identica, LinkedIn and any of the other networks I’ve signed up on in the past few years. I’ve decided to keep my content to just these 3 (Twitter, FF and FB) for now. And Video or Audio content will be referenced by my blog posts, so there’s no need to pull from YouTube or Vimeo.

The final link is any bookmarking sites I use. I’ve limited this to Digg and StumbleUpon for now, and both of these feed into FriendFeed only.

Anyway, that’s how I’m working at the moment. Any suggestions on how I should improve this?

[You can follow me on FriendFeed here.]

The problem with FriendFeed

FriendFeed - I Like it FriendFeed has had a lot of coverage this week. But then again so has Windows 7, Twitter, TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop, so there’s a chance you may have missed it.

When the new FriendFeed beta was unveiled on Monday I was certainly intrigued (in fact so much so that I’ve spent most of the week in FriendFeed, and not on Twitter where I usually hang out). Although I’d signed up for FriendFeed when it was first released, I hadn’t actually given it much of a look in until this week.

A few weeks back in my Twitter Popularity Content post I lamented the eroding of community on Twitter, and how the vibe was changing. In that post I jokingly suggested following people simply for the follow-back. Little did I know that some people actually seriously advocate this as a strategy.

I concluded by asking: where all the cool kids are heading? And the answer is now clear: FriendFeed.

Sadly though it seems I’m too late :-). All the cool kids are there alright, but the inevitable rabble of celebrity and marketer have turned up too.

But that won’t put me off for the short term. I love the community discussions that take place on FriendFeed. In many ways it is the replacement for comment systems on blogs. A discussion of topics is easy to promote and comment on. Filters are natural, and friend recommendations are actually relevant. I’m a convert.

(I’ll still be on Twitter though. Twitter’s biggest feature is its simplicity which I still like. In contrast, FriendFeed has taken me a little while to get used to.)

So what’s the problem?

Well, there’s a few problems.

The first is the lack of client tools. Sure, Twhirl and a few others provide FriendFeed support, but it actually detracts from the experience (especially since FriendFeed is now in real time). There’s no killer FriendFeed app.

Second is the ease with which you can pollute your stream, especially if you pull in from numerous sources (Twitter, Facebook, Ping.fm, etc).

Third is the bad layout. The UI is so inefficient that on a 1280 X 1024 screen I’m usually only seeing 6 or 7 messages (I agree with the suggestions on Mashable too).

These can all be overcome of course with time and proper development. Which just leaves the final problem:

How will they ever make any money?

Making money is going to be the priority for all but the best cashed up ventures (eg I think Twitter can hold on for a while), so FriendFeed surely has to be thinking of how to monetize the business at some point soon (they’ve only had $5M in funding so far). I can’t think of anyway they can monetize FriendFeed in its current format.

If the audience is predominantly geek, then they aren’t going to go for an ad supported structure. 

And even if the audience grows to mainstream, they probably still won’t be able to make money from ads. Why? Because if Facebook with all its rich, detailed demographic information can’t turn a profit from ads, then FriendFeed sure as hell doesn’t have a chance either.

Their information is taken predominantly from other sources, so there’s very little unique data-mining that can extracted.

And I don’t think they’ll be encouraging Friendfeed in Uni lectures like they are with Twitter.

So that leaves what?

Perhaps the only chance for FriendFeed will be if it gets acquired.


FriendFeed is great. I like it. But I think its days are numbered.