Monday, April 14, 2008

FriendFeed--Another Approach to Social Media

It seems like a new approach to social media pops up every day. And for a lot of people that’s one of the problems; they have a lot of “stuff” scattered all over the web—how can they bring it together in a central space. Apps like Google’s OpenSocial are a somewhat “more formal” approach—one requiring developers to build the apps.

FriendFeed is a different animal. It’s a user-controlled site that lets users see what their friends are sharing on a large number of social sites. This video from Vator TV spends about the first 6 minutes on FriendFeed, the next 6 or so on a video mash-up site called Gorilla Spot, and the last 3 or so on new approaches to ad networks.

As I understand FriendFeed, the user sets up an account and chooses the sites she wants to share. It appears that, if the user chooses a public account, she gets access to all the items her friends share on each of the networks and they get access to hers. If the account is private, each friend must be separately identified. According to the FAQs page, “For most sites, all you need to provide FriendFeed is your username, and the FriendFeed crawler will automatically find and broadcast all of your public activity on that site.” To me, that’s another big “Ouch,” but once again, I’m not part of the target demographic.


It works with iGoogle and Facebook pages. Here’s the set of sites FriendFeed now accesses; wonder how many of them you and I recognize. Here’s a list, in case you need it.

A final thought. One of my students recently found a “social network fatigue” poll on PopGadget, the technology site for women. It’s hardly a representative sample, but the two competing explanations for why so many users are spending less time on social networks are interesting. The first is that users are simply getting bored/losing interest and spending less time. The second is that it’s just taking too much time to keep it all updated—hence sites like FriendFeed. I’d add a third possibility; users have settled down to just a few key sites—maybe just one, maybe two or three for different purposes—in order to manage their time. Personally, from what I see, I’d vote for my third option. What do you think?
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1 comment:

Koka said...

Friend feed is where social media should go. Since there are so many ways that friends use social media apps and there seems to be a new one every day, having one aggregate source to see everything is extremely helpful.