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Ten FriendFeed Visitors Beats 1,000 StumbleUpons Any Day

The average StumbleUpon visitors stay a few seconds on the site and then leave having visited one page. That’s exactly how I use the StumbleUpon toolbar, clicking the Stumble! button quickly unless a site particularly grabs my interest immediately.

Traffic Growth #5 – What Value In StumbleUpon Visitors?
Fog of Eternity – Robin Cannon

Robin’s observation probably rings true for most bloggers. Sites like StumbleUpon and Digg can drive significant traffic to a site. If ad impressions or clicks are important to a blog, then those visitors might have value. If your goal is to build an audience with whom you mutually learn and build relationships, those sites aren’t worth much.

Traffic from StumbleUpon and Digg is like loading up on empty calories. They fill you up for a while, but they have no nutritional value and leave you hungry for more soon thereafter.

FriendFeed, on the other hand, lets bloggers build a solid foundation of long-term readers who in turn serve as the best sources of new readers.

FriendFeed Difference: Trusted Referrals

What makes FriendFeed such a great platform for building your blog readership? Two big reasons:

  • Trusted referrals
  • Blogger participation

FriendFeed enables trusted referrals at two levels of a blogger’s social networks. The first level are those people who subsribe to the blogger’s feed. They’ll be the first to see new content. These members may then comment, share or bookmark the new blog post.

The second level is more distant from the blogger. This is the “friend of friends” feature, as shown below:

With this FriendFeed feature, your blog is reaching people who do not subscribe to you. In the example above, I’m seeing Rex Hammock’s blog post because he’s a friend of Robert Scoble. A crucial thing to notice though…I only see Rex’s blog post because our mutual friend Robert ‘liked’ the post. His action is the key that makes this feature pop up. In other words, you’re not just bludgeoned with a huge flow of unfiltered feeds in the friend-of-friend feature.

I personally have used the friend-of-friend many times to follow new people I didn’t know. I have moved from being a second-degree member of the bloggers’ social network to a first degree member (i.e. a subscriber). This is a powerful feature of FriendFeed, both for bloggers to gain new readers and for members to discover new content.

The pictures below show how the FriendFeed social graph works. The initial picture shows a blogger’s beginning social graph. Four people subscribe to his FriendFeed updates. But those four have their own connections, enabling their networks to see the blog post. If they like it, then their friends will see it too. A viral process for blog exposure:

The outer bands of the blogger’s social graph get exposure to the blog. As the blog is viewed further away from the core, the viral distribution falls off. But some of the members in the outer bands will subscribe to the blogger’s FriendFeed, which increases his core social network:

The new subscribers become the source of additional readers through their social networks. A new blog post comes out, and their friends will see it, bringing new subscribers. And so it goes, on and on. With enough time, a blogger will have a terrific base of people that enjoy discussing similar topics.

StumbleUpon, Digg: Drive-By Readers

Contrast the slow-building, strong ties forged in FriendFeed to the fast, drive-by traffic coming from StumbleUpon and Digg. Sure, the traffic is great. But you likely won’t see those readers again. With StumbleUpon, many of those visitors are just clicking their ‘Stumble!’ button. With Digg, the blog serves as content for a community that exists entirely outside of the blogger’s social graph. So the blog post gets its moment in the sun with the Digg community, which then moves on to other content.

Final Thoughts

FriendFeed makes it easier for a blogger to build readership than did previous options. I also have a suspicion that exposure via FriendFeed makes it easier for smaller bloggers to make it onto Techmeme.

What do you think? Is FriendFeed becoming the true social graph of bloggers and their readers?

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See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=ten+friendfeed+visitors+beats+stumbleupons&public=1

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