Why am I pimping FriendFeed?

by Karoli on April 6, 2009 · 17 comments

friendfeed logoNot because I want to do my impression of Robert Scoble.

Not because they pay me (they do not), and not because I get anything other than warm fuzzies from seeing a real-time feed cross my screen again. Rule both of those out right now.

I am pimping FriendFeed because they have just rolled out a revolution. And I like revolution. I especially like revolution that makes Twitter sit up and take notice. If Twitter isn’t sitting up and taking notice, they should, without question. Right now.

What FriendFeed is:

Friendfeed is lots of things. But in its simplest form, it is a central place to aggregate and then broadcast all the different things you do on the web. If you wanted to, you could set up an account, put all of your different web habitats in — your blog, your Flickr account, your Facebook account, your Twitter account, etc. — and simply collect everything in one place. People could subscribe to your feed and know what and where you have updated without you ever touching anything ever again.

You could do that, but you’d miss the power of FriendFeed. Hence, a post and an invitation to experiment.

What Friendfeed did:

Today Friendfeed rolled out a user interface (in beta) that comes near to what I thought Twitter would be a year ago. A real-time feed with powerful search/track functions, served to users on a single page.

To me, it’s getting really close to Nirvana. To others, not so much. Real time isn’t for the meek or easily intimidated. Fortunately, the FriendFeed developers (FF for short) saw that coming and added a “pause” button so users could slow down the flow of information and consume it in their own time and their own way.

But wait! There’s more…

  • Filters and Feeds
    I’m a noisy Twitterer. It annoys some people who follow me for specific reasons, like maybe they like my political tweets, or maybe they like my pictures, or my blog posts, or whatever. But they HATE having to wade through a zillion tweets to the one they like.

    Enter FriendFeed, where you pick and choose what you want to see from the folks you follow, either by filter, list or by squelching their twitter channel altogether and watching other channels. Want to know what I might be saying about healthcare? Set up a filter in FriendFeed with my name and healthcare. Now you’ll get those terms from me wherever I post them, in real time.

    Or, you can just hide my tweets altogether and never have to read another one. (I hope you don’t, but you could.) Or, you could put me on a list called Noisy Pains in the Butts and just look there when you felt like it rather than having my twitters served in real time.

  • Broadcast
    Got a Twitter and Facebook account with different folks following you? Want to say the same thing to both groups (I almost never do, but some people send their whole Twitter stream to Facebook)? Post it from FriendFeed, send it to Twitter, and your Facebook Twitter app will post that update to Facebook.
  • Discussions
    On Twitter, a reply to a conversation is as simple as typing @username and your message. The person you’re replying to receives your reply, along with anyone else who mutually follows the two of you. On Friendfeed, anyone can comment (unless you have a private feed), sparking some great discussions attached to the original post, as opposed to having to hunt down all the different twitter replies. It is threaded conversation, though not multi-tiered threading, and it builds the community of you and your friends.
  • Discovery

    The real time aspect allows for the opportunity to discover, in one place, discussions, blog posts, pictures, videos, all available right there on the same page (no external clicking off to YouTube or Flickr unless you really want to). The thumbnailing gives a much more visual view to the page, and saves you some major clicks.

  • Imaginary Friends
    Yep, that’s right. I’m 50 and I still have imaginary friends. What are they? Well, if you have friends who are on Twitter but not Friendfeed and you want to answer them in one place, make them an imaginary friend simply by adding their Twitter URL to your list of friends. Also be sure to add them to a list so you’re not overwhelmed by your twitter stream coming through. You can send over a reply to them simply by posting an @ to them on Friendfeed and sending it to Twitter, and possibly even by replying to the imaginary friend’s post (I’m checking on that).

    Here’s a tip: if you create an imaginary friend from a Twitter search term, you can pull in twitter search results along with your friends. Now you’re tracking Twitter and FriendFeed in one place, by using a filter on FriendFeed to aggregate FriendFeed search with Twitter search. Works great, especially for vanity searches.

  • Direct Messages to groups
    This still has some bugs in it, but Friendfeed is implementing direct messages that can be sent to an entire group or list of people. They are not SMS (not sure about email at this point), but they’re still something worth watching.

The bottom line: REAL TIME REAL TIME REAL TIME

The revolution is real time access, filtering and search across the entire Friendfeed stream. As more users adopt it and begin to use it, the power will be obvious and necessary, because we don’t all have the entire day to sit and Twitter, and yet microblogging is the fastest best way to discover news, people and content.

Oh, there is one other thing. When you give your content to Twitter or Facebook, they get to keep it. You don’t get it back. (Try going back more than 20 pages on your tweet stream sometime. Or downloading that video you uploaded to Facebook) On Friendfeed, you can get your entire stream, via RSS.

My bottom line: I’m pimping FriendFeed because I want to keep following everyone I follow on Twitter, discover new voices and information, do it in real time, my way, while retaining my content. Powerful search and track functions don’t hurt. In fact, they’re the kingmaker in my mind.

Next Post: Step-by-Step how-to’s to make FriendFeed Friendlier

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