Facebook and friendfeed are now the same thing. They both provide exactly the same thing but for different audiences. Facebook is a network of real friends, where you share everything with those that count on you as a friend. That’s where you get party pictures, relationship statuses and more. Friendfeed is where you go to get world news, current affairs and industry information from people you have yet to meet.
Both of them now allow you to filter your information by groups or lists. I for one have two twitter lists in Facebook, twitter friends I’ve already met and had a good time with, and a second twitter stream where it’s twitter friends I have yet to meet. That’s where I can follow those of you whom I have unfollowed on the real twitter, for lack of proper interaction.
On friendfeed I have a twitter stream as well, but this is raw, I can still react to your twitter stream by selecting to comment straight into the twitter stream or by proxy through comments in friendfeed. In part this evolves according to how willing you are to adopt the friendfeed lifestyle.
I’ve been thinking of friendfeed and how friends in news could use it. I spent four hours at work, off the clock, chatting with someone that works in news, but doesn’t use google reader and speaking about how we, as individuals filter our news. Everyone does it, but most people are happy jumping from one site to another to get the information. The website that person looked at does have RSS feeds which could be aggregated into google reader and feedly.
That’s an important advantage. It means that when you’re off work, in between shifts you can still get all the news coming to you, but without using the professional systems. It means that you shape the information flow, as well as it’s speed. The more sources you add to your reader, the faster information comes in and overwhelms you, if the right filters are not in place.
Look at the social media landscape now and it’s not that busy if you’re looking for hard news but that will change as people grow more accustomed to the way the current social media types use it.
We need to shift away from the social media types to the lifestylers. I use this term to describe everyone that uses the social media, not as a promotional tool for their activities and their blog posts, but instead for the content created by others with society at large as a source of information gatherers and sharers.
How would friendfeed look if the film and television industry used it. How much more conversational would the WEF Davos room on friendfeed have been if those participating in the conference conversed here, as much as at the events. A lot of conversation is invisible because those who talk about it do so with those in the industry. What if part of that discourse came online?
Look at the BBC website for example, and how it provides three top stories today, Madagascar and the new president, Russia and it’s rearmement plan and Fritzl. If the news editors for the News agencies met on friendfeed and discussed the top three international stories how much richer would the dialogue be? How many more related stories would we find?
We can get a taste for this from Google’s news page, according to country. You can see which stories are the most written about and see how the dialogue is advancing but that’s an algorithm. It requires little time or involvement to exist. As a result recommendations may not be that interesting, or that well selected.
Imagine a top three international stories room on Friendfeed and how that would progress, as news agencies provide items for national news bulletins. You could have sub sets to that room according to regions according to treaty alliances. There could be a room where NATO encourage Europt to work closer, making Europe as an entity more powerful. You see that with recent discussions from various recent Nato events.
I watched and listened to plenary sessions taking place in Africa during the changes-challenges.org when live streams were being made available by the event organisers for greater transparency. Some sessions were on the front page of the website. As a result even if you were not invited to the event there was a certain degree of transparency, the same was true of the World Economic Forum. As part of my work I have been streaming such events and I have tried listening in, to see what people were saying.
What is a shame is that at the moment there is no diversity in these online communities. Only the earliest of the technologically adopters are participating. the conversation, as a result is boring for anyone but those hyper-engaged within these communities. I use the term hyper-engaged because in reality there is a lot of information coming in. All of that information takes time to ingest. The best way to absorb all of that information is for us to watch it in real time.
Facebook have that option now, the real time view, if I remember the term correctly, and that will help to introduce a large portion of people to what is called the “Real time web”. The real time web is best demonstrated by the real-time view on friendfeed. People are finding new sites, commenting on links and more n real time. As soon as something is added to the stream you see it. If you’ve got two or more screens then you can monitor all of this in real time. There are apps to help with the assimilation of all this information.
Of course we’re not there yet, at the moment the geekiest of the geeks are playing with it, and some have more time than others to be invested in this. It’s just that it’s so well adapted to all professions that it will be interesting to see how Friendfeed and Facebook revolutionise the way we get our information and how we react to it. What I love most is that because facebook brings that to over three hundred of my university, school and work friends we, social media types have an easier job of driving adoption to the masses.