Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reaction to the Friendfeed makeover - Day Two

When I first started using Friendfeed, it was primarily for interaction among a small group of early adopters.

As the service grew, it became apparent that people were much more likely to comment on a blog post there, than right on your blog.  That 'magic' was echoed by almost everyone.  I think it came as a surprise.  For me, it was great.  I think it's a safe bet to say that most bloggers enjoy (and want) feedback. 

Friendfeed has experienced exponential growth since it's launch.  It has already crossed over to many mainstream web users (as evidenced by the titles of some of the Friendfeed user-created rooms).  IE:  It's not just for techies anymore.  The difference now is, that if you want a techie-only stream, you've got it in the new beta.

A few weeks ago, I began having some concerns that newcomers to the platform might be turned off.

Despite a variety of tools to 'keep things clean' in your own stream, all kinds of posts were appearing, and depending on how you originally set it up, you might  end up with a collection of photos, videos and feeds that didn't interest you at all.

My other concern was personal.  Was Friendfeed maxing out?  I like to discover new authors and developers, engage them, and sometimes even highlight them.  Many are absolutely brilliant but have yet to be discovered.  They have something to say, and many times, it's important.

My main stream was getting very crowded as I follow over 900 Friendfeeders. I stopped adding new people for literal fear that they would follow back.  The simplicity of Friendfeed was slowly going away.

I didn't want to start to unsubscribe.  I wanted to add more.

I honestly have no clue how people like Robert Scoble, Louis Gray and others were instantly finding and commenting on items that appealed to them (other than using the relatively new Friendfeed Search).

Last night's beta launch solved all those problems (for me) and more.

I can now create separate streams.  In my case, that might be people who I trust 'broadcasting news and opinion' from their own blogs, people who I just enjoy interacting with, people who are deep thinkers, a few Friendfeeders that are just outright funny, and yes, what people still refer to as the 'A-list'.  There's probably one or two categories I haven't thought of yet :)

I won't have to scroll through 6 pages to find 'cool stuff' anymore.  I suppose if I wanted to, even though I've only had to do it twice, I could now relegate the few 'crazy invaders' to their own category rather than blocking them.

In my wandering around after the launch last night, I found only two real concerns.

Tamar Weinberg, who I've been following in the SEO channels well before Friendfeed was concerned that she was getting 'too noisy' as people would 'unsubscribe'.  Tamar not only writes for numerous online publications but is also very active in the SEO and social network spaces.  She's a 'real person'.  (I like real people :)

I don't share everything on Friendfeed.  It's up to you which services you import and how often you post. I hope people like Tamar discover the controls or change their input to suit their desires.

The other concern expressed by Shey Smith and Mona N was that the 'new black' was making them dizzy.  I suppose that depends on your browser and monitor but watching the Friendfeed team address issues last night, almost in real time in the Friendfeed Beta room, I seriously doubt it will be a problem for long.

While some are strictly using Friendfeed for visibility (which is fine), they're really missing a lot.  The increased (highly visible) comments to their own streams.  The truly helpful group of users that have been addressing simple questions about all kinds of topics by users.  It's a community that works.

This post is already longer than I like, so let's consider just one more fact.  Friendfeed is the epidemy of Net Neutrality.  There is no censorship.  The controls are yours.

If you feel there's still a learning curve, I, for one, urge you to go through it.

The Friendfeeders, at least the ones I've gotten to know, will help you ... every step of the way.

Edited 2:50 PM to correct items mentioned in Disqus comment