The Noise About FriendFeed Noise

I’m actually enjoying the “noise” of FriendFeed. Anyone else?

Corvida, one of my favorite bloggers, has a post up on ReadWriteWeb titled Don’t Be So Naive: Friendfeed Adds to the Noise. In the post, she argues that FriendFeed is contributing to the noise with a lot of stream that hold no interest to her. Her examples include Flickr and Seesmic streams, as well as Twitters without a comment.

Now there is some truth to the noise issue, but I don’t think it rises to a “we’ve GOT to correct this ASAP” level.

In fact, I find the whole thing somewhat confusing. I love seeing the variety of topics and services that cross my FriendFeed page. Heck, I even added the Greasemonkey script to expand the list of items per page to 100 from the current 30. I hated missing stuff by relying only on the 30 items that appear on the first page.

So what am I doing differently from Corvida? Not sure really. Here’s what I know.

Number subscribers. I checked her subscriptions, and I’m subscribed to 55 more people than she is. So seemingly my risk of noise is higher. But it doesn’t bother me.

Blogger bias. I choose my subscriptions carefully. When I’m deciding whether to subscribe to someone, I tend to prefer someone who blogs. That requirement right there is a good one for managing noise. Bloggers seem to have a good level of signal in their FriendFeed streams. If someone only Twitters or shares items on Google Reader, I tend to hold off on subscribing. These rules aren’t ironclad, but they guide me.

Hiding. As I said, I’m not hiding much. I subscribe to one person, whose friends tend to blog in Chinese. I can’t read those, so I’ve been hiding these friends-of-friend on a one-by-one basis. I may need to hide all of his friends. I’m also close to hiding Jason Calacanis tweets as well. His tweets have a low signal-to-noise ratio for me. But it’s only a fraction of what I’m seeing.

See Louis Gray’s post about the various Hide features FriendFeed has – they’ll help clean up any noise issues you have.

Let’s Keep It Simple

Over-engineering a solution to noise is exactly the wrong thing to do. Beware the unintended consequences. The FriendFeed guys have put a lot of power in users’ hands to manage what is seen.

I have suggested a couple possibilities for cleaning up the duplicate links that can show up in FriendFeed. My guess is the FriendFeed guys are working on something related to that. That would be a help.

But really, let the streams flow. Your noise is my signal. I’m enjoying the content and conversations a lot. I even like the multiple times the same link shows up, because I’m piecing together an implicit social network based on that.

Bring the noise!


See this item on FriendFeed: