FriendFeed RSS Is a Fantastic Discovery Tool

FriendFeed will be one of the best research & discovery tools there is. I don’t say that lightly. Here’s why.

Jeremiah Owyang has a post up today, My Essential Twitter Tools. He lists seven things he uses to get the most out of Twitter. Among the items are these:

  • Search: Use Tweetscan to see who’s talking about you, your brand, or a topic you’re interested in. For example, I may not just search on “jowyang” but also on “owyang” as some don’t use the full name.
  • Aggregation: Friendfeed puts all of our RSS content onto one page, making it easy to see from one glance (rather than going to different properties) and you can even reply from friendfeed to different tools. It’s smarter to organize around people, rather than tools.

Tweetscan is a great resource for finding out information on a topic. You see what others are talking about and passing along for a given topic.

Well, FriendFeed is even better. On FriendFeed, people share their Twitter posts, the same content that Tweetscan searches. But they share many other application there as well.

  • Micro posts: Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Google Talk,
  • Websites, blogs: new blog posts, StumbleUpon, shared items on Google Reader,, ma.gnolia, Digg, Reddit
  • Presentations: Slideshare
  • And lots of other sources

All of these content sources are searchable. And they all have an aspect lacking in many search and discovery mechanisms: human filtering.

When someone takes the trouble to save or distribute content, that content has already passed an initial test. Does it have value to someone? If you save something to, that is your endorsement of its value. Add it to LinkRiver? Means you found the web page interesting. Sharing a blog post on Google Reader means the blog post held value. Recommend a book on Goodread? You get the picture.

The conversations that are captured are also incredibly valuable. They give insight into people’s thinking around a subject. They hold data that is useful. Many times, the micro posts include a reference to content that someone found valuable, even if that person didn’t bother to bookmark it to or share it on their Google Reader.

The implicit endorsements of content – via different services or conversations – are a tremendous benefit to someone doing research.

There’s also plenty of original source content that’s findable. Slideshare presentations. New blog posts. Videos. Photos.

Finally, from the recommendations, conversations and content, you can find people who share your interests. You may want to do the social thing and add them to your FriendFeed network. Or you can check out what other sites, content and conversations they have in their FriendFeed to potentially find other useful information. Heck, even reach out to the person to discuss a subject.

Adding RSS to this whole thing really powers it. You don’t have to go to the FriendFeed site to do a search. You can have new content delivered to your RSS feeder.

RSS? FriendFeed doesn’t have RSS?

Mark Krynsky over at Lifestream Blog has a wonderful hack that turns FriendFeed search results into an RSS feed. Click here to go his post.

I won’t stop using Google to search for a subject. But for leveraging the human filtering, I’ll use FriendFeed search. And for ongoing knowledge discovery, even when I’m not actively searching for a subject, I’ll use FriendFeed search RSS.

What do you think? Will FriendFeed become a primary research & discovery tool?

I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.


About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

4 Responses to FriendFeed RSS Is a Fantastic Discovery Tool

  1. fpettit says:

    FriendFeed is definitely hot and a growing user base gives it excellent potential for this type of purpose. The potential is all about a diverse growing set of users. I have not used it for research but definitely discovery. It is a great way to see what is going on and has cut my time spent in Google Reader.

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  4. diggma says:

    Thanks so much! Awesome stuff

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