FriendFeed: A Great Tool With an Uncertain Future–Enter Facebook!

by John Zajaros on October 11, 2009

The recent acquisition of FriendFeed by facebook, and yes all you English teachers out there, the proper name is left uncapitalized, announced to the world in early August 2009, still has much of the Internet wondering…”What next!?”

The consensus seems to be facebook coveted not only the FriendFeed staff of twelve, eleven of whom are engineers, but some of the FriendFeed tools and technology, applications the David-like FriendFeed had developed that left facebook’s Goliath in a rather covetous state.

To paraphrase several observations made in TechCrunch:

As of the publication of the TechCrunch article, since updated (somewhat) and written by Jason Kincaid on August 10, 2009, the details and the full implication(s) of the purchase are, as of yet, unclear…but Kincaid calls it a “good match.”

Clearly, the acquisition is a good match for facebook as it continues to ramp up its onslaught on twitter (yes, also uncapitalized–didn’t these guys go to grammar school?). The motivation behind the acquisition seems to be as much about facebook acquiring FriendFeed’s tools and technology, along with the small but very creative staff.

In the last year, facebook has “borrowed” several of the FriendFeed tools, such as the ‘Like’ feature and also the “emphasis on real-time news updates.”

Clearly, FriendFeed’s overall functionality outperformed facebook in a number of ways and in several key areas, so facebook did the logical thing…they stepped in and bought out their competition!

The consensus among the majority of the tech and social media writers I surveyed, the people who follow this kind of stuff daily (and my thinking, as well), is that the real win here for facebook is the acquisition of the FriendFeed team. The team is made up of several heavy-hitters from Google, including Paul Buchheit, responsible for the creation of Gmail and the original AdSense model. The ex-Googler team is clearly the the driving force behind the tools facebook covets and the ultimate reason for the facebook-FriendFeed deal.

Is this the next step in facebook’s onslaught on twitter? It would certainly seem to be the case!

In the meantime, FriendFeed remains a very interesting Web 2.0 platform and one worth getting comfortable with.

If you are very active on even a handful of social media sites, you know how difficult and time consuming it can be to keep them all updated with current material. A post on one may not been seen by someone who is a friend or follower on another site, and so on. So is there a solution for this? Some say FriendFeed is the answer.

While the long-term future of FriendFeed is still up in the air, whether it will remain a separate entity or will become part of facebook, the applications and tools continue to make this an attractive and very useful social media site. Yes, there are other sites offering various components of the FriendFeed toolbox…but the mix of tools and applications under one roof, so to speak, makes FriendFeed hard to beat.

FriendFeed is a live streaming web service that takes all of your activity on various social media and social bookmarking sites and consolidates it into one place. Members can subscribe to each other’s streams, and carry on a conversation right from one place instead of signing in and out of numerous sites. If you want to keep track of someone who is not a FriendFeed member but who does use social sites, FriendFeed gives you the option of having their various RSS feeds compiled into one place.

The number and variety of sites friendfeed supports is increasing all the time. Some of the more popular ones already on board are twitter, facebook, YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Seesmic, last.fm, and Furl, as well as RSS and Atom feeds.

FriendFeed is a great way to stay in touch with friends, family members and colleagues, but there are numerous other ways you can use its functionality:

1) Start or Join a Room: Have a hobby or cause you are passionate about? A Room is a place where you and others can have conversations about only that subject matter. This is also a great way to engage current and perspective customers, and provide information about your product or brand.
2) Grow your Social Network: When scrolling through streams, if you see someone with great posts or comments, hover over their name and hit subscribe.
3) Broaden your Interests: Everything a person you are following likes, is shared with you. Conversely, what you like – from pictures, to music, to articles, to videos, is shared with them as well.
4) Poll the People: FriendFeed has an easy way for you to ask for the opinions of others.
5) Conduct Searches: FriendFeed will not only provide you with links to related material, but you will also see user’s comments about them.
6) Segment your subscribers/friends into various categories to include: Home feed; Personal; Professional; and, Favorites.

You can also check out the most popular entries of the day, week, and month…all at the click of a mouse! Not only can you check out the most popular entries overall but you can also see how your comments fared and which comments attracted the most attention, from you and from others.

FriendFeed offers tools so you can pick how much content you want to see from each user, and a way to block those whose posts are less than desirable.

When you’re on the road, keep in touch via iPhone’s mobile application, FriendFeedToGo.

Until now, friendfeed’s user base has been relatively small, especially when compared to the likes of twitter, however, all indications are this will be changing rapidly over the next several months.

A recent press release states that FriendFeed will continue to operate normally, for now. However, it seems that the founders of both sites, facebook and FriendFeed, have admired each other’s work for quite some time and will work well together. Perhaps? It will be interesting to see if the long term plan will be to fuse the best of both services together to create the largest interface for users to aggregate all of their social networking updates and news items in one place or they will remain separate and distinct entities. Time will tell!

John
Join me on FriendFeed!
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Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr., PhD
216-712-6526
866-835-2913
Skype: johnzajaros1
johnz@johnzajaros.com

PS, I am presently taking on mentoring and coaching clients, so contact me any time and leave a message 24/7. I am also recommending anyone interested in growing their business check out StomperNet and TrafficGeyser, the two tools no online business, of any kind, should be without.

PPS, Check out my personal site, The John Zajaros Blog anytime!

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