The first adjectives FriendFeed is introduced with are that it is an ‘aggregator’ and a ‘lifestreaming service’. I have seen many people and friends enthusiastically start to use the service and then quit after being disillusioned. These people are more like early adopters than the general public that uses Facebook. So what happened?
Since I like FriendFeed, I think it is important to understand what FriendFeed is not, as much as it is to understand what FriendFeed is all about. The first three descriptors below are on FriendFeed’s homepage, the last two are used by everyone else.
1. Why FriendFeed: It’s Simple?
FriendFeed is not simple to use for many people. The interface is both intuitive and non-intuitive. Uh? Well, what I mean is, the interface is unlike any other website. There is no single place for all settings. In the beginning, you will learn something new each day you use it. While this is true of most networking websites, with FriendFeed, the learning continues for a longer period of time, in my experience.
2. Why FriendFeed: It’s Conversational?
FriendFeed is a great place to have conversation. But if none of your existing friends on other networks are on FriendFeed, and everyone on FriendFeed is new to you, don’t expect conversations immediately on everything you share. Because FriendFeed does not have the level of mass adoption like Facebook, it is likely you will find new friends rather than meet old ones. And like with every new connection, friendship on FriendFeed takes time.
3. Sharing with Family, Sharing with Co-workers?
If you want to share your photos, videos, vacation posts, there are better ways to do it than FriendFeed. For e.g. Posterous, Tumblr are popular. I’m not sure how many co-worker groups are using FriendFeed to collaborate.
4. Lifestreaming Service?
Steve Rubel uses Posterous for his lifestream. Orli Yakuel uses StoryTlr. Most people who are curious about Lifestreaming are bloggers. When they are introduced to the concept of an aggregator and lifestreaming service, their conception is as follows: Wow! What if not just my blog posts, but my Flickr photos, favorite YouTube videos, etc. were all ‘aggregated’ automatically at one place! Wouldn’t it be a great place where all my blogger friends can find everything about me and what I’ve shared?
So they sign up with FriendFeed and a few hours or days later, are disillusioned.
5. Centralized Me?
What they’re actually seeking is a service that aggregates and centralizes all their activities across the web. They want to refer old and new friends who may or may not be web-savvy to this place. This place is to be the gateway to learning everything about the person on the web.
FriendFeed is not the best place where you create your centralized identity. While it is indeed possible to just follow a single person’s lifestream on FriendFeed, it is not built with that objective in mind, so it doesn’t make a very good impression that way. StoryTlr, Chi.mp and even Posterous can be better options.
So there. This can help you make a more informed decision and prepare you if you’re joining FriendFeed. Should you? Absolutely. Approach it as a place where you will make new friends, have lots of conversations. There are plenty of non-techie folks – from photographers to philosophers – so you will definitely find something you’re passionate about. Give it time and patience. If you want to, be friends with me.
Posted via from SkepticGeek’s Posterous