Thoughts On FriendFeed

I know I am late to this discussion and that many bloggers have already weighed in on this topic already.

Back a few months ago, the New York Times covered FriendFeed and after reading the story I set up my FriendFeed. I have always been a fan of aggregation and life streaming. I do a bit of that at my tumblog. But Tumblr is not a lifestreaming service and FriendFeed is.

I’ve watched FriendFeed grow over the past three or four months since I set mine up and although I rarely used it personally, I have assembled a large number of followers on FriendFeed. In the past week, I had to turn off email notifications of new followers because they were taking over my inbox. FriendFeed doesn’t tell you how many followers you have but I suspect it might be as large as the number of people who read my blog’s feed with Google Reader. FriendFeed has serious traction.

Now, to the most discussed point – the fact that people are commenting on my posts at FriendFeed not on my blog, my tumblog, my flickr account, or sending me an @ message on Twitter. I think it’s great that discussions are happening around things I’ve said or done and I can’t complain too much that they are happening elsewhere. But it means I have to log into FriendFeed every day now and check out what people are saying and weigh in. Which I’ve been doing in the past couple weeks. And that increases the chances that I’ll comment on someone else’s posts at FriendFeed.

So now, in addition to this blog, my tumblog, and twitter, I have to pay attention to whats’ going on in FriendFeed. So it’s gone from being an aggregator of attention to a demander of attention. Good for them. That’s the way to play the game on the web.

But I would like to see them get those comments portable in some way. Or I’d like to see someone aggregate those comments. Maybe that’s something that Disqus, an investment we announced yesterday, can help them with. Or maybe RSS is all that is needed to get the job done. Or both.

Umair, who is so right so often, said:

The real point is: Friendfeed is a next-gen, open version of Facebook’s social feed.

That’s how I think of Twitter too. But the problem with open is that it’s messy. It’s not neat and clean like Facebook. It requires work. And so I’ll be doing more work now. But most importantly, open also means a platform for innovation. FriendFeed was a great innovation. And so someone is going to innovate again on top of FriendFeed to bring some focus to all the conversations we are having.

And that’s a good thing.