The Facebook and Friendfeed lifestye

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.

The Feedly and Friendfeed way of doing things

Venture capitalists love to invest in something that works, something that’s concrete. If it’s got a 900% user growth rate overall and tripled in size in the UK alone then this is excellent. That’s the perfect website to invest in. Of course I’m speaking here of twitter. The 140 character twitter website that no one has time to use yet everyone flocks to. With the recent twestival you see that it’s gone local, and that can only mean one thing, that it’s gone mainstream. Perfect, now the web celebs can come in without looking too geeky. Cue Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry to name just two individuals.

It’s passed though. The golden age of twitter is behind us. 140 characters and social presence have moved on from there and I think the companies we should be focusing next are feedly. friendfeed and google reader. The reason for this is simple. We all love to create content and we all love to talk about it. We all love to show others that we’ve found something but the drawback is that we create a lot of duplicates. These duplicates aren’t bad if you’re only following five or six friends. When you follow twenty eight thousand though it does start to get tedious however.

That’s where I feel real enthusiasm for feedly. As you go from blog to blog you find a lot of content that’s interesting but aside from what’s written in the comments for each post you have no idea of what others have thought or said about this. Feedly gives you a small box at the bottom right corner that tells you the number of conversations that have taken place and a quick method by which to see which are the most active references to this post. As a result you don’t need to wait for the kettle to boil to start a conversation. It’s already there.

That boiled kettle of course is Friendfeed. That’s where people will be moving next. That’s where we will find the conversation moving next. Watch the realtime thread and you can see who liked the post, who was vocal about it and when the most recent comment comes in. What this implies is that the limitations felt by twitter will become a thing of the past. We’ve got a high end solution for our content needs.

Of course we’re individuals. We all like to have our own rss feeds and personal content and that’s where google reader integration comes in. At the start and end of the day, when all those we are following are taking care of their children or walking their dogs we can go hunting for original content. We share that content and once people wake up they can comment and so the cycle continues.

Other websites are now providing more interesting options and deserve at least part of that pie.

Feedly

Recently I started using feedly which is a great tool for managing rss feeds and content into an easy to view form. Connecting with google reader, friendfeed and a number of other surfaces it provides you with three principle displays for viewing the content you have selected to have aggregated.

The first display shows your content by theme. In my case these themes are social media, video, technology, explore, and of course my own content output, to some degree. From this display I can quickly see a number of topics.

The second display is named digest. It displays three of the top unread stories with the title and a quick description of the articles in each category. You can cycle through these articles using the ever popular J and K keys, j for going back, K for going forwards. A counter tells you how many items are left for each category.

The list view gives you a quick headline for every blog post. It’s a quick way to go through your rss feeds. The articles expand to their full length once they have been selected.

Conversation tracking according to article
Conversation tracking according to article

Above is what I think is the most interesting feature of all. It’s a demonstration of how feedly is integrated into your every day browsing. Anytime you go to a blog you’re made aware of the conversation that is taking place and how active it is. You may also share that content to a number of platforms, from google reader to friendfeed, twitter and more to add. You can add a note to explain why you think that blog post is relevant to your readers.

Of course the reason I love this application, requiring firefox, so much is that it allows for the entire world wide web to be something your share with those who are interested in where your attention is being drawn. It syncs with google reader, integrates with friendeed and just provides a great all round user experience. I strongly recommend using it.

Friendfeed has a great future

I really like Friendfeed and what it’s becoming. What I love is how easy it is to follow many people and converse with them about everything they share. It’s the future of web sharing but it may take several months for people to move towards it.

There are a number of things I love. First of all it aggregates your live stream in one place, so anyone who has an interest in you can share what they like about your work and you can follow this conversation. The second aspect that makes it so strong is that you can do the same for them. You can select those you think are thought leaders and follow everything they do and say. It’s mature, it’s like a web forum but grown up in that it branches out to blogs, twitter, plurk, youtube and flickr to name but a few networks.

That’s just a small part of what makes it so interesting. Something else that makes this website and service interesting is the level and depth that conversations can take. If you get a few people talking together you get a debate and a dialogue, or conversation going. This contributes to the continuation of the discussion. What’s more is that it’s less name based. You can see what FOAF (Friends of a friend) are discussing and joining in.

That’s not where it stops though. The rooms, albeit a little geeky for now will be a great place for people to come and discuss new topics, from political elections to festive events where they live and more. It’s specially designed for this. Look at the Davos room for example. RSS feeds from a variety of sources are aggregated into one place for easy digestion, especially when using the realtime feed option.

The biggest weakness of the site at the moment is user numbers. With just a few hundred passionate users the discussion means the creation of a strong community bond that has long since dissapeared (or at least changed) for Twitter.

Add Feedly to this and you’ve got one of the most interesting services yet to come out. Feedly makes it easy to share your content to many social networking websites, of which friendfeed and Google Reader are part. Read your google reader items in feedly, share them, add notes and more. It’s all synced from one place and it’s not website specific. You don’t need to be on the feedly website to use it. Just add the plugin and it works.

I look forward to welcoming you there.

Re-tweeting demonstrates that twitter is broken, here’s why

Having used Friendfeed intensly for the last two days and through reading this post I believe that twitter is on it’s way out for early adopters for one fundamental reason. The re-tweet.

Twitter is over simplified for anything but IRC like conversation and as a result of this for passionate users such as myself we bounce from the walls of twitter without an opportunity to escape it. We see links but know nothing about them. We see retweets but don’t understand them. We get replies of which conversation they were part of and in general twitter is a two message medium.

The two message medium is the way I think best illustrates how people use twitter most of the time. Too many people worry about productivity and wasting time and because they feel guilty for having a conversation on twitter they cut it off after two messages on average. As a result the twitter user often feels that they have wasted time.

In Friendfeed however you write a message, link to an article and if people like it you see how many people, including you liked the article and you can see the comments. As an effect of seeing their comments you may exchange more messages with them. It doesn’t matter when you join the conversation because the flow is still there.

This saves so much time and technology that I am really thinking of moving away from twitter to Friendfeed because it has finally come of age and is more reflective of the way people disseminate and share information for at least a few more weeks.

Anyone else feel the same? Let me know.

Falling for Friendfeed

Friendfeed is an interesting service I never wanted to use because I prefered Jaiku but recently that feeling has changed. As I saw Scoble speak more and more about how good friendfeed was I began to think that maybe it’s time to try the service, to see what it’s about and to see how well it works. As a result of the past day using the service I begin to enjoy i.

What I like about this service is that it’s an aggregation of all the content that friends are creating. it’s not content produced by IRL friends but rather by interesting people from various corners of the web. We see their images, their posts and the articles they find interesting, as well as comments detailing why they are of value.

A change I’ve noticed, at least today, is that as I watch the live feed I find myself reading more posts, following the conversation and being quite a bit more receptive than I would be to links on twitter. That’s possibly because the site is still new to me but it may also be because it’s a nice mixture, more visual than other solutions.

As a result of this first day of using it properly there’s a good chance I will continue experimenting with the site, seeing what I can gain from it in the long run.

Friendfeed and Jaiku

There’s so much hype about friendfeed because of it’s features but that’s something jaiku has been doing for months and months now. It’s a shame that silicon valley doesn’t look beyond their borders. Shame the hype is almost always around that part of the world.

The more I use jaiku the more I enjoy it. If anyone wants some invites I should have a few left. Just let me know and I’ll send you an invite.

Twitter as a way of life

Twitter is not a social network, rather it’s a way of life. The more you use Twitter the further it gets into your way of life. It allows you to follow current affairs, geek out about social media and keep in touch with friends that uses the social network. What’s more it’s a network that does not require any specific device.

At first it’s a confusing place. Look at the public timeline and it’s a torrent of junk and sifting through it will take hours a day. As you spend more time on twitter though you find people of interest to follow. In some cases it’s friends from the physical world, in other cases friends from other websites on the web and then more.

In reality what makes twitter interesting, and part of what makes people use it is how efficient it is at getting a message across. You’ve got 140 characters to express yourself. In Paris I was told I speak in 140 characters or less. That’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s good. It’s about the continual flow of information.

Imagine you’re swimming down a river but everytime you move to stay afloat you have to close your eyes. That’s what article and blog reading is. As you focus on one task so your ability to focus on anything else dissapears. That’s fine in the old media where pages are static and where airwaves are limited.

In the modern world though it is necessary to absorb many sources of information at once. How many of you have your ipod, laptop and mobile phone with you at the time you’re reading this post? I’m sure most. How many of you have more podcasts than you can view or listen to? How many of you have more programs recorded on PVR than you can watch?

That’s why twitter is a lifestyle. It’s about constantly looking for information and building an understanding of current affairs through constantly taking in little bits of information. Stop talking about the social media on twitter, rather start talking about the good old fashioned time efficient soundbyte. Want to be heard. Don’t take people’s time. Encourage interest instead.

Many people are complaining about the decentralised conversation, the notion that blogs are no longer the center of attention, that twitter, friendfeed, facebook and others are killing the conversation. In fact quite the opposite is true. If you’re in New York you’ve got one set of people, if you’re in London you’ve got another. if you’re in Geneva you don’t have much… To have a decentralised conversation means that many ideas can be explored at once and as pillars of the online community meet at various events so the conversations can once more converge.

Don’t worry about comments on a blog, think about the conversations and the people you’re having them with. That’s where the fun is to be had.