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On FriendFeed, We’re All TV Channels


Husband: Hey honey, what’s on TV tonight?

Wife: Just seeing what’s new on Do you KNOW Clarence?

Husband: Cool. Any tech updates on Scobleizer?

Wife: Always! But I just want to chill tonight. Let’s see what’s up with Hawaii over at Roxanne.

Husband:Nice. Let me get a quick NBA update over on Odenized.

Wife: Give me that remote. No sports tonight!

Husband:I know what we need. Glasses of wine and some Thomas Hawk photos.

Wife: That’s it! Perfect!

When you watch TV, you have channels and shows that fit your interests. When you surf the Web, you have sites that you enjoy. All are forms of media, of programming, of content. That pretty well describes FriendFeed.

We’re all TV channels on FriendFeed.

You choose to follow people on FriendFeed because they stream content, comments and likes that fit your interests. Isn’t this like TV? ESPN gives you sports. Comedy Central gives you humor. MSNBC gives you prison lockdown stories…

Imagine if you tuned into ESPN and saw shows recounting the battles of World War II? Or if the Oxygen network was showing a hockey game? You’d be confused. And annoyed!

Which is an interesting take on the signal vs noise meme. One person’s signal is another person’s noise.

Select Your Channels Wisely

This is a theme which I’ve stressed before. If you subscribe to people who are not giving you programming you like, you’re going to run into the ‘noise’ issue.

Personally, I wouldn’t watch the Oxygen network. It just doesn’t interest me. It would be noise to me. But there are millions of women who do enjoy it. It’s signal to them.

Which is why I don’t follow any sort of auto-subscribe philosophy, in FriendFeed or Twitter. If someone subscribes to me, I may not subscribe back. Their programming just doesn’t fit my interests. It’s a very egalitarian thing to automatically subscribe back, but you’re bringing noise into your information stream.

Programming Changes

My FriendFeed mostly consists of social media stuff. I also enjoy the world of track and competitive running. If I suddenly switched programming, and fed a lot of running things through the stream, my existing network would look at that as noise. Just like if ESPN started running sci-fi movies. Not what people were expecting.

Louis Gray had another example of this in a recent blog post. Tony Chung switched his programming from Apple and next gen technologies, to covering the arts.

Final Thoughts

Mia Dand and Steven Hodson have nice blog posts on how content forms the relationship between a blog and its readers. They are good examinations of social media as programming.

FriendFeed is even larger than blogs. We get someone’s interests beyond just their blog. Heck, you don’t even need to blog in order to become a FriendFeed channel.

If you value having subscribers and developing a network of like-minded individuals, think about what your Friendfeed streams mean in terms of your programming. Even the simple ‘Like’ function brings content into others’ streams. I’d hate to be too careful about what I ‘like’ or comment on! Just recognize what it’s doing to your subscribers.

And with that…back to our regularly scheduled programming.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/e/64843b5f-f950-c815-72ad-bb7931540ff9

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About Hutch Carpenter
Senior Consultant for HYPE Innovation (hypeinnovation.com)

9 Responses to On FriendFeed, We’re All TV Channels

  1. The analogy assumes that a FriendFeed “channel” produces content having to do with one broad topic. In my case, my feed includes a lot of stuff, which makes me a UHF channel that shows different infomercials all the time. :)

  2. sachendra says:

    A great analogy, never thought of it that way. Goes on to show the more things change to more they remain the same.

    I was concerned with the signal to noise ration on my friendfeed and slowly weeded out the contacts I wasn’t too interested in. So even if I don’t select the channels wisely to begin with, it’ll normalize soon enough (just as in case of TV channels).

  3. @Ontario Emperor – I hear you on the multiple interests. Perhhaps you can raise the level of interest in subjects someone doesn’t normally follow.

    UHF analogy is great. Tough being a polymath, eh? :-)

  4. @sachendra – good to hear you’ve been successful in building out relevant programming!

  5. Pingback: Colin Walker » Signal to noise on the social web.

  6. Pingback: Weekend Reader - friendfeed, blogging, technology, programming, wordpress « // Internet Duct Tape

  7. Pingback: FriendFeed Lets You Tag Users: Now Expertise Finds You « I’m Not Actually a Geek

  8. Pingback: Signal to noise on the social web. » Walker Media

  9. Pingback: Signal to noise on the social web.- SquashBox Media

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