Social aggregator and sharing platform FriendFeed is rocking the first adopter community and is continuing to grow. The debate is still on as to whether it will translate to the mainstream, but all indicators have it heading in that direction.
FriendFeed compiles information from different sites into the one stream, and allows you to share what your doing online with others, and follow what others are doing. It’s not the first in the space, but it takes aggregation to a new level, enabling conversations where they may not have taken place before, and encouraging content discovery. It’s close to being egalitarian, with great content rising to the top not through a process of who submitted it, but based upon a level playing field of submissions.
Google Bait: ultimately the mainstream argument may not matter, because with its rising popularity FriendFeed looks more and more like Google Bait every day. As growing numbers of people spend more time on different services, social aggregation as a first stop for users makes sense. Facebook is moving in this direction, enabling comments on mini-feeds, but FriendFeed remains the powerhouse in offering a dedicated service. FriendFeed WILL be acquired, it’s just a question of when, and by who. Google is the obvious candidate.
Ways to use FriendFeed
- Follow friends: the obvious first use for FriendFeed. Keep up-to-date with what your friends are online by following their feed.
- Make new friends: adding new friends in FriendFeed is as easy as hitting subscribe when hovering over their names. If you see someone with great content or comments, add them as a friend.
- Discover new content: FriendFeed shares content between friends, so if you like something, that item is shared with everyone you are following, or viceversa, the people you follow share their likes with you. It’s a great social discovery tool.
- Broaden your community: find interesting people who aren’t in your usual groups or likes, and follow them as a way to broaden your community and understand of different people (cecily)
- Share with others: you can pull data from a diverse ranges of services, so sharing can paint a picture of the real you. Everything from picture through to songs on Last.fm can be shared, and you’ll often be surprised to learn that others share your opinions or likes.
- Homepage: FriendFeed can be used as a homepage that delivers a fresh, rich stream of content the moment you open your browser. You can also add other services using our Greasemonkey scripts.
- Lifestream: use your FriendFeed feed to stream your life on other sites, either in a sidebar or front and center. WordPress and RSS are an easy mix.
- Groups: start a group on a topic you like and invite others to join. FriendFeed rooms are easy to set up and offer a great alternative to tradition group platforms such as Google Groups
- RSS Reader: FriendFeed’s Imaginary setting allows you to import any site with RSS, meaning FriendFeed can become an RSS Reader as well
- Subscribe to the news: using the Imaginary settings allows users to import Google News feeds and more. FriendFeed can act as your breaking news platform
- Search: as FriendFeed grows, so does its back catalog of content. FriendFeed search offers a friendly and often richer way of finding things, delivering not only the link, but a conversation around it as well (Louis Gray)
- Research: if it has been newsworthy, the chances are that it will have been discussed or linked to on FriendFeed. FriendFeed offers a vox pop of opinion ideally suited to research
- Poll: if you’re looking for opinions on any matter, FriendFeed offers a quick and easy way to poll people. Chris Pirillo regularly asks questions on FriendFeed for use on his blog.
- Live Blogging: set up a room, or post directly on anything you want to cover live. Easy to use, and proven by Venturebeat.
- Twitter Client: as well as importing Tweets from Twitter, FriendFeed also allows you to respond back to Twitter as well.
- Give Tutorials: use a FriendFeed room to give tutorials on any given subject. (Bwana)
- Technical Support: use FriendFeed to give technical support for a product
- Customer Feedback: set up a room to take customer feedback on your product. Engage directly with your user base, and allow others to give their 2 cents worth on suggestions
- Be Picky: with FriendFeed, you can follow people without having to view everything they share. The hide feature is great if you’re wanting to block individual feeds or services, and you can also choose to only show items if other people like them or comment on them first
- Block the Nasties: if you don’t like somebody on FriendFeed, a block is only ever two clicks away. FriendFeed lets you be the judge on what’s appropriate in your feed
- Meme-tracking: FriendFeed has a popular list that allows you to see what items are popular among your friends at any given time. A great way to catch up if you’ve been offline.
- Mobile tracking: FriendFeed offers an iPhone version that’s a great way to keep up when you’re on the road, or you can use the excellent FriendFeedToGo.
- Brand Tracking: as an aggregator, FriendFeed offers an easy way to track brand attention for corporations. (Jeremiah Owyang)