The Digerati’s Love Affair With Friendfeed

First, I’m not a regular Friendfeed user.

In theory, I get the idea of having everything (RSS feeds, Twitter, blog posts, comments, etc.) aggregated in one, convenient place – something described as social media aggregation. It makes sense as the digital world becomes busier and more scattered.

In practice, Friendfeed is just too busy and loud. There’s so much stuff being collected and presented that it’s somewhat overwhelming. As a result, I may check Friendfeed out every couple of days to see what’s happening.

Perhaps I’m not getting it but Friendfeed strikes me yet another place to check out along with e-mail, Techmeme, GMail and Twitter. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for Friendfeed has to do with my goal to reduce the amount of digital noise – an approach that regularly sees me turn Twitter off until at least noon to reduce the number of distractions.

Nevertheless, Friendfeed has a growing number of disciples (Louis Gray, Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, etc.) who swear by it. Mike Arrington even claims Friendfeed is luring Twitter users tired of the never-ending technical woes.

The big question is whether Friendfeed is the next Facebook or if it’s just the new, shiny toy for the digerati? Although Friendfeed had 45% more users last month in the U.S. compared to April, it’s still pretty small in the scheme of things.

Perhaps Friendfeed is a solid, niche service as opposed to something with mainstream potential. The chart below suggests Friendfeed is enjoying nice growth but nothing terribly spectacular.

Perhaps as Friendfeed adds more services, it will resonate with a wider audience but, for now, my sense is Friendfeed is the new cat’s meow for the always-on, always-connected digerati, which has a solid track record of happily moving from one cool service to another amid the continuous search the next new thing.

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  • Mark Dykeman

    It’s hard to say if FriendFeed will become widely adopted and you may be correct about its limited appeal. However, one point that I don’t see you mentioning is the Commenting and Like functionality in FriendFeed, which is one of the biggest reasons why Scoble started extolling the virtues of FriendFeed. There are other aspects to it as well, but you do have a point about the whole “river of news” or noise effect. That limits its mainstream appeal, although developers are continuing to work on ways to control the noise.

  • marshall

    ff for me is like twitter plus. plus bookmarks, photos, music and discussion. i love it!

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  • Roxanne Darling

    As an entrepreneur, I am in a similar mindset Mark. What I would like to see is some measure of users who actually have deliverables each day versus those who seem to be in some form of marketing whereby they have few externally-based commitments each day and the time therefore to be connected to so many networks and feeds.

    The people who are building things, other than their own profiles, are largely absent.

    At the same time, I think very shortly larger companies will be very smart to have full or part time dedicated Customer Service “Twitterati’s” who can be available to those who are incredibly vocal and connected. It’s such a brilliant platform (along with aspects of the spinoffs) for communication, and that is a #1 task for many companies.