Proposal to Clean Up the FriendFeed Clutter

FriendFeed is wonderful for giving you so much interesting information. But there are times where the flow of information is excessive and redundant. This occurs when the same the link shows up multiple times for the same user:

  • Post it to your blog
  • Share it on Google Reader
  • Bookmark it to
  • Post it to Reddit
  • Etc…

Eric of Internet Duct Tape blogged about this. And a really good discussion about the clutter occurred here…on FriendFeed. A couple different perspectives:

FF could make this easier and ‘collapse’ multiple items into one i.e. if I share something from Google Reader and bookmark it on delicious, only one item should appear in FF. I wonder if FF is too focused on where we doing things rather than what we’re doing? – Andy Davies

what I’m saying is that, if you add the same links to 2 different services, there’s no need to add both services to FF. Just one would be enough. Of course, if there are things that are unique for each one of them, it’s understandable. – Alejandro S.

Andy wants a technical solution, Alejandro is looking for a change in behavior. I lean toward the technical solution because there is information in the service that the person uses. A save to means the person has a personal interest in it. A save to Reddit means the person is explicitly putting the page “in play” for others to pick up interest. I don’t want to lose that.

I propose two alternatives for reducing the clutter of same-link feeds:

  1. Person-centric: if a user has the same feed more than once, the same-link feeds are aggregated together under a common link for the user
  2. Link-centric: all same-link feeds for all friends appear under a common link

The two alternatives are really different. #1 amounts to a small clean-up mechanism. #2 is more radical. It changes the FriendFeed experience. But perhaps in an interesting way.

Is it more important to track action around the link or the person?

Person-Centric: A Lightweight Cleanup

The “parent” consists of the user + web page title . All user actions that relate to the parent URL are aggregated, as shown below:

Each time a new feed with the same URL is posted by the same user, it’s just added to the list. Note that Tweets with the link are added as well (even with a URL shortener).

This would clean up the feed, but retain the current person-centric nature of FriendFeed.

Link-Centric: Centralized Comments,FriendFeedmeme,

In this scenario, the web page is the “parent” All user actions fall under a common web page link:

A couple things happen with this approach:

  1. For a given item, all comments are centralized in a single place. This makes the conversation easier to follow. Comments can still be attached to a particular person’s action to retain specific conversational preferences.
  2. The combining of all actions for a single item creates a visual meme, showing how much activity surrounds the item.

These are all feeds and comments you’d see under your ‘friends’ tab. They’re just aggregated.

Person-Centric or Link-Centric?

Is it more important that John found a bunch of different links interesting (person-centric)? Or that John, Susan, Mike, and Cheri found a single link interesting (link-centric)?

What better defines the experience of FriendFeed?


See this item on FriendFeed:


About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

12 Responses to Proposal to Clean Up the FriendFeed Clutter

  1. Bret Taylor says:

    Great ideas… We have been thinking through these issues as well, and it is great to see such detail and mockups.

  2. Scott Goldie says: goes some way towards alleviating this problem, with some more features due in a few days, especially around aggregation.

  3. Pingback: FriendFeed Noise Solutions |

  4. bhc3 says:

    @Bret – glad you like that. And the discussion over at FriendFeed about it is really good.

    @Scott – I’m signed up for FriendFeedMachine. Look forward to trying it more.

  5. engtech says:

    Thanks for picking up where I left off, bhc3. 🙂

  6. bhc3 says:

    @engtech Eric – that’s the best of blogging ain’t it? This sort of collaboration across blogs that can occur.

  7. eng1ne says:

    Good article. I’ve been struggling with how to prevent aggregation repetition for a while now.. of course, being lazy, it would be great if the aggregators did it for me. But I could probably stand to pull out some of the registered sites to cut down on the amount of repetition.

  8. Pingback: Weekend Reader - twitter, blogging, usability, webdesign, bsg « // Internet Duct Tape

  9. Pingback: Down with FriendFeed Etiquette |

  10. fpettit says:

    Hey Hutch it has been quite a while since you posted this but I keep coming back to it. Others seem to be continually having the same discussion and suggesting similar noise solutions.

    I keep linking to it to remind new FriendFeeders that this had been discussed.

    I just wanted to say how relevant this post was at the time and still is.

  11. diggma says:

    Good article. I’ve been struggling with how to prevent aggregation repetition for a while now.. o

  12. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info.And this is site. It pretty much covers DoFollow Social Bookmark related stuff.

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