Monday, August 10, 2009

A Game Changer? Facebook Acquires Friendfeed

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase
This just in, Facebook announced its agreement to acquire Friendfeed. This is exciting news but the implications are unclear. For those who know very little about Friendfeed, let me introduce you. Friendfeed is a social networking web site much like Facebook and Twitter. Users can sign up and share information with friends or followers on what they are doing at that moment. That is where the similarities lie, but Friendfeed can do much more.

One of the earliest features that attracted me to Friendfeed was its ability to pull feeds from other sites and push them out. This means I can connect Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Reader, Yelp, Upcoming, Delicious, Britekite, Flickr, Netflix, YouTube, Picasa, Pandora, Twine, Digg, or any other service to Friendfeed and share all of my activity with friends, automatically.

Friendfeed has become such an important part of how I share content with people. In a recent article, How to Share Interesting Stuff from the Web Using Google Reader and Friendfeed, I point out just one of Friendfeed's valuable functions, but the number of uses is based on your creativity. Just today I read an article by Zee entitled, "Do we really need Favoriting AND Retweeting on Twitter? Combine the two like this:" In it we learn how Robert Scoble shares his Twitter favorites on Friendfeed, which ultimately gets published back out to his friends. I must say this is an ingenious way of maximizing the technology.

Beyond sharing activity from all of my services, I can also engage in a conversation about that activity directly on the site. Unlike most other networking sites, Friendfeed functions in real-time. This means, anytime someone responds to a discussion or post, it jumps back to the top of the list. I no longer have to search through a stream of content to find what is new or popular amongst my friends. Friendfeed delivers it right to you.

In addition, Friendfeed encourages you to post images, videos, and audio directly in the feed. Twitter can only provide links, Friendfeed gives you everything right there. It should go without saying, but Friendfeed is a wonderful application. Unfortunately, it lacks one very important piece of the puzzle. Friendfeed has not attracted many of my friends. While I share content with a couple hundred people, I miss the engagement with my friends and family, something Facebook does exceedingly well.

I always thought that if Friendfeed could make their service attractive enough to get my people connected, then it would be a more enjoyable place to play. As of now, I visit Friendfeed to read the latest news and follow favorite technology bloggers, but that is it. For everything else, I go to Twitter and Facebook.

Right now, the news of Facebook acquiring Friendfeed is exciting because they both are powerhouses and together they should be able to build something even better. My hope is that they will maximize on each other's strengths and raise the bar even higher. I guess in time we will see just how beneficial this union will be.

Let me ask you. How will this change social networking as we know it? What are some of your wish list items? I would like to hear your thoughts.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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