Colin Walker

on social media, tech, blogging and the internet.

The changing face of FriendFeed.

ChangeHutch Carpenter wrote a very intriguing post over at I’m Not actually A Geek which details why he thinks the FriendFeed service will go mainstream but may take ten years to do so.

He defines mainstream usage as 33% of internet users and estimates the timescales involved by looking at the adoption of other technologies and services such as the Internet itself, Google and RSS feeds but what stood out for me in this post was his assertion that, come the revolution, FriendFeed will look rather different to how it does at present as more ‘non-tech’ folks join the service.

In his post “Friendfeed stats show its just Twitter with bookmarks” Alexander Van Elsas advises us that FriendFeed traffic is more than half made up of Twitter messages and that direct postings to the service account for less that 1% of all traffic. Hutch surmises that over time the amount of direct postings (which includes sharing a link directly on the site rather than via somewhere like Google Reader) will rise incredibly as more people latch on to FriendFeed as a worthwhile service but I would personally expect things to further than he has outlined them.

Go to your audience

With the Blogging 2.0 discussion saying that bloggers should go where their audience is I feel it is only a matter of time before this is taken literally. During the debate about linking and attribution I remarked “A FriendFeed blog anyone?” and with a few changes I could see it happening.

All it would take is for FriendFeed to add formatting options to the current comment box and it suddenly becomes a viable mini-blog platform. If they also extended the API so that remote blogging applications could submit proper posts (including images, links etc.) then we could see a shift towards really taking your blog where the audience is. Forget about the worry of having your posts scraped by third party services, what about having your actual content directly in peoples streams?

Please sir, can I have some more?

Despite having been around for a couple of years Twitter is still a relative novelty and once people demand more they will move to services where the potential is greater and the conversation is more engaging.

As I said before, FriendFeed is no longer just an aggregation service – it is now a community and enhancing its capabilities further would put it in a great position to capture the imagination. Current users are already pushing the boundaries; we have gone way beyond just ‘comments’ and moved on to full blown discussions and I feel it won’t be long before we are clamouring for extra ways to get our message across – an ‘inline’ blog seems a natural extension.

Your thoughts

Would  you use a blog hosted directly within an aggregation service like FriendFeed? Can you see the utility is a feature like this or would it bloat the system? How far will content creators go to be close to the audience?

Related Posts

Image by TW Collins.

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May 20, 2008 - Posted by | Social Media | ,

12 Comments »

  1. […] What’s The Future Look Like? […]

    Pingback by notes, thoughts, ideas and responses » The FriendFeed Sponge | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. You made a great point about FriendFeed being (at its most basic) a blog. You can post about what's interesting to you and people can discuss it.

    What's the difference? Accessibility. You can skim, and hit with a like simply from the title or you can read or look at the entry and start a conversation. If things are interesting enough to a group, the likes and comments can keep it on top or it just fades into obscurity – that is, until one of your friends sees it and bumps it back up for another pass. It does all of this seamlessly and fast. You can tell this was started by ex-Google folks as it maintains the simply and fast UI that made (in my opinion) Google popular.

    Comment by vdegeorge | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. There are certainly very few differences between FriendFeed and, say, Tumblr…

    Comment by Rubin Sfadj | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. Tumblr is obviously more blog-centric and not as social. Combine elements of the two and add a decent text editor and your well on the way.

    Comment by colinwalker | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  5. Love this post Colin. Lifestreaming is fundamentally a personal expression of your interests. Your stream of content from various social media defines “you”. Blogs have a central role here, and why not insert your thoughts directly into your stream?

    I think you're on to something about blogging via FriendFeed. It becomes a lightweight platform for mainstream users to express their thoughts quickly. This is the premise of Twitter, but I think FriendFeed does it better as part of an aggregation of “you”, and with all the interaction hooks it includes.

    Comment by Hutch Carpenter | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  6. FriendFeed can already be viewed as a microblog with a whole bunch of widgets attached to it. But let's take a step back. While all of us think about “blogs” as a matter or course, most of the population thinks about “articles,” or online versions of the things that you find in newspapers and magazines. Think of it that way, and then you can ask if your local newspaper, instead of creating a webpage, just creates a FriendFeed account and publishes its articles directly, while also aggregating its tweets, pictures, et al. Which then begs the question; can you host your own ads on FriendFeed? And how are the earnings divided? But that's a whole other topic…

    Comment by ontarioemperor | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  7. If FriendFeed incorporated more qualities of the Tumblr interface, like actually showing the pictures and videos within FriendFeed (and/or Twhirl), that would be pretty sweet.
    Tumblr posts are really meant to be linked to. They are meant to be read in a stream. It is all about the visuals.

    Comment by elroy | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  8. Two reactions to this:
    1) I am beginning to look at all the external services I use as just ways to plug into the conversation at FriendFeed. No one looks at my blog… I get no conversation if I post something there, but I'm pretty likely to get some response if I add content that shows up in FriendFeed. It's even making me look at what gets the most response (IE, a lot of people hide Twitter posts… I would probably get more conversation going if I post a note from GoogleReader than a link on Twitter). I just want to participate in the conversation and FriendFeed lets me do that in a way I haven't been able to before.

    2) I tend to get verbose in my comments (can you tell from above?). FriendFeed is actually helping me get over that by the limit on the number of characters in comments. I actually like that. I don't want to see full blog posts on FriendFeed. It would be harder to scroll and more time consuming to respond if I had the option to do things long and formatted. Having a blog on FriendFeed would degrade the experience for me. FriendFeed is where the conversation happens, not the lectures.

    Comment by BlueCockatoo | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  9. Interesting to see your comparison between friendfeed and a blog platform. Maybe Friendfeed and Tumblr could shake hands and merge?

    Comment by svartling | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  10. Great post Colin. FF is definitely the hot topic right now and the conversation surrounding FF is more interesting than anything I've read about using Twitter (the old heat) in the past.

    Proof that times are changing is the number of people installing the FFC plugin. The people who wrap themselves inside the conversation are going to understand the community the best.

    Comment by Julian Baldwin | May 20, 2008 | Reply

  11. […] Walker has some interesting thoughts about using FriendFeed as a blogging platform. Looking at how FriendFeed Direct Posts and my blog […]

    Pingback by Analyzing My FriendFeed Stats: I Should Be Direct Posting More « I’m Not Actually a Geek | May 23, 2008 | Reply

  12. I realized after writing ten reasons why people should subscribe to Julian Baldwin that most of those who did subscribe were through FriendFeed and not my blog feed (which is what I was thinking when I wrote that). Now I realize how powerful of a blogging platform an aggregation system like FF could be and I'm going to write a post about that.

    Comment by Julian Baldwin | May 24, 2008 | Reply


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