Again: Why I Like FriendFeed

March 14, 2008

FriendFeed

With the sudden buzz building around FriendFeed, I thought I’d reiterate my enjoyment. I reviewed the site a few months ago and thought it was pretty slick back then. My initial opinion hasn’t changed, and I’ve been using FriendFeed more and more.

So here’s why I continue to like FriendFeed:

The site is easy to use once set up. You participate without trying, by doing what you normally do on other sites. You can easily dash off Twitter-like comments on FriendFeed, which also saves time since you aren’t logging in to multiple sites. You can get a good overview of all your friends’ activity across multiple social sites in one place.

The comments – which I believe are a killer feature – have become more interesting as more people sign up. The number of silly “first post” comments is currently low – the site is in a sweet spot of being popular enough and not too popular for its own good.

FriendFeed is solid and fast – I’ve experienced zero downtime or slowdowns. Feed updates happen more quickly than in Google Reader. I subscribe to my FriendFeed in Google Reader (yes, that’s a bit of a feedback loop) and can see other bloggers’ blog posts appearing FriendFeed first, before Google Reader itself. This is likely an issue of scale, but a big positive for FriendFeed right now.

Interesting additional features – under “friend settings” there are two amusing tabs – one for adding an “imaginary friend” through which you can track people’s activity without them being a member of FriendFeed. Second is “stats” which tells you what sites you’re using most and which friends like your stuff the most.

It’s sticky – I’m checking out FriendFeed on a daily basis if not multiple times a day.

Now what’s bad? Well, I do agree that FriendFeed has limited utility to mainstream users. One has to be using more than two or three social websites and be comfortable with the concept of RSS feeds for it to make any sense. A universal remote is of no use to someone with only one remote. It will be interesting to see if FriendFeed can grow their user base beyond the current core of technology early adopters.

There is some concern if FriendFeed is taking comments away from the blogs and other websites proper, or adding another “layer” over existing discussion that isn’t necessary. I wonder if these same folks worry about comments on links on social sites like Digg, which also occur away from the originating site. This complaint seems like something coming from an “old media” newspaper website. Conversation happens where it’s most convenient and where people are already talking.

Lastly, I’ll mention that while Louis Gray did FriendFeed a big service by promoting them (I got my invite from him) – the site still had to live up to the hype. I’ve looked at many Web 2.0 sites over the past two years and this is the first where I felt “wow, cool” – not unlike Tony Hung of Deep Jive Interests’ experience – and most important – continued using the site after the initial week of amusement wore off. That last “stickiness” is key, and why I think FriendFeed is worth checking out.

Once again: Here’s my FriendFeed.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    For what it’s worth, I wish I could turn off FriendFeed commenting…or at least, turn off commenting at the other sites that FriendFeed indexes. I’m not sure if there’s a good solution, at the moment.

    If I post something original, such as photos I’ve taken, it becomes tricky to navigate multiple conversations. One of the things I like about FriendFeed is consolidation, which is why this annoys me so much! ;)

    I’ll try to ease up to commenting at FriendFeed though, as some sites (like Twitter) don’t allow commenting. There’s got to be a balance in here, somewhere.

    Otherwise, the site is in an excellent stage, and I can’t wait to see it mature. Based on your post, I almost hope it doesn’t become too successful for its own good…Facebook has become so popular, that they really can’t do anything daring anymore.

  2. webomatica says:

    Yep the comments feature is getting varied opinons, that’s for sure.

    BTW I like what you did with your site using FriendFeed. I have tried to get Simple Pie to work as a sidebar but it was not formatting the FriendFeed Feed correctly – I’ll try again this weekend!

  3. Mike says:

    Heh, thanks…I still gotta format it, and I wish I could use the service icons…I suppose those two things are next, when I can find the time.

    Was the WP plugin able to display the feed, or was it just the appearance of the feed?

    I think WP has an RSS sidebar widget – though I’m not sure if it supports Atom, which is the only type of feed I could find for FriendFeed.

  4. engtech says:

    interesting idea… a wordpress plugin to reimport meta comments from delicious/digg/ff back into WP.

  5. webomatica says:

    Mike – It was bringing in the feed but excluding certain items and including ones I didn’t want. I can’t remember exactly what, but I’m re-inspired to try again soon

    Eng that is a good idea – based on comments on friendfeed alone – from bloggers worried about comments moving elsewhere. But would comments on the blog be added to digg / delicious / ff, too? I think they would have to, in order to keep the conversation straight.

  6. No trackback? In any case, I liked your bullet points (well, sans bullets) and included them in our roundup … which is a followup to our post that added Technorati & Alexa data to Louis Gray’s big list.

  7. Hi Mike, I agree that FriendFeed can be an interesting way to aggregate all your social web data. The things that stuck out most for me in looking at it were information overload and considering whether all data streams are equal.

    Sometimes I’ll have a post on my blog and mention it on twitter, which in tun gets syndicated out onto the web. This is duplicative and would force me to post updates through twitter, but move my readers to friendfeed as to avoid information overload. The other consideration is whether a particular service or account is actually important. My digg feed may or may not actually be useful since I’m pretty active in the digging community and so all my diggs may overload the stream nor indicate much about my actual interests.

    I like friendfeed’s functinality and the ease of building a feed, but I’m still waiting to take the big jump!

  8. Mike says:

    Heh, I think you mean Jason – Webomatica. I’m just a visitor. :)

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad they don’t actually use my Last.fm data in the FriendFeed. What a nightmare – I listen to so much music that it would drown everything else out. I’d be fine with excluding feeds. As of now, it’s mostly del.icio.us and Twitter, which is what I’m really using lately.

  9. Thanks for the correction Mikw.

    Go me. Can you tell that I’m the new guy around here?

  10. Mike says:

    He, it’s cool. Welcome! :)

  11. Mike says:

    Heh, I think you mean Jason – Webomatica. I'm just a visitor. :)

    For what it's worth, I'm glad they don't actually use my Last.fm data in the FriendFeed. What a nightmare – I listen to so much music that it would drown everything else out. I'd be fine with excluding feeds. As of now, it's mostly del.icio.us and Twitter, which is what I'm really using lately.

  12. Thanks for the correction Mikw.

    Go me. Can you tell that I'm the new guy around here?

  13. Mike says:

    He, it's cool. Welcome! :)