The developer of NoiseRiver quit FriendFeed today, citing LOLCats as the cause. Some reports are suggesting that NoiseRiver may be shut as well, but we can't clarify this (it's up at the time of writing). I predicted that FriendFeed will acquire NosieRiver back in June, and they still might, and the reason remains the same: it is a great idea well implemented.
In a missive posted to Google Docs, develop Directeur said that he was quitting FriendFeed because Friendfeed has become "a show biz zone, it's for entertainment."
You can argue that people share tech stuff and discuss them. Yes that's true. BUT you have to agree that tech stuff will definitely vanish besides LOLcats and other stuff when shared by "top" friendfeeders. You just can't make things change. I'm not superman. And I'm not a like-monster, I don't like stuff by my "friends" when I don't like the stuff they post. that'd be stupid.
He goes on to explain that the top of FriendFeed isn't the same as it was, and that many people do nothing than pander to an A-list, who have switched to posting funny content over serious tech news.
He quotes an email he received from an unnamed source:
I hope that things return to an atmosphere of compassionate, intelligent conversation that FriendFeed once was.
Having read the reason why a couple of times, I don't fully get why he's quitting: I take it that he's not happy with the shift in content on FriendFeed, and some of the related conversation, but the decision seems extreme to me, but so did Mark Rizzn Hopkins leaving, and I get why that happened.
There are two important takeaways though from this: the shifting content mix on FriendFeed, and the move away from civil, intelligent conversation.
On the latter, see my post on Mark leaving here, that experience may not have been the same for Directeur, but the conclusions hold true: FriendFeed has started reflecting the rest of the internet, moving away from a great place for interesting discussions, to something that is sometimes more nasty. Cyndy Aleo-Carreira writes that "If you don't like conflict, get off the freaking Internet" which sort of sums up the counter argument really, it's just a shame as a FriendFeed user that there was once a time where conversations didn't end up in name calling and general nastiness. I'm a glass half full guy, can't help that. I'd rather take a positive view where I can vs a bitter, twisted one that presumes all people are bad, all the time.
The content shift point though is interesting. I don't have data on the shift, but certainly in the 6 months or so I've been using FriendFeed, the content has dramatically shifted. Where as once it was more tech related, it moved into fun stuff and politics, with the tech stuff still there, but not nearly as dominant as before. I understand and take on board that some people miss the old FriendFeed, because it's very much a different place today.
But you know: despite some of the nastiness in the political discourse, I love it just the way it is. It is my primary social networking platform, I enjoy talking online to Mona, and Robert Scoble every day, or liking stuff from Cee Bee, Louis Gray, Allen Stern and many others. I also like a lot of the stuff that comes through, even if it isn't always serious. FriendFeed has helped keep me sane through this sites rough times, and it helps give me a break from work today. I respect that Directeur doesn't like the change, and that's the very nature of change itself, some people don't like it, and I think nothing less of him for his decision, even if I'll be a sad to see him go. But I like it mostly the way it is today, and so do many others.