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Why FriendFeed is Disruptive: There’s Only 24 Hours in a Day

Forget fractured conversations. How about fractured attention?

MG Siegler has a post up at ParisLemon titled FriendFeed Should Kill Those Who Accuse It of Murder. In the post, he writes that the current meme about FriendFeed killing Twitter and Google Reader is overblown and that all the services will exist in relative harmony for the foreseeable future.

To which I ask: did someone just extend the day to 25 hours?

Because there really is a zero sum game aspect to social media. We only have 24 hours in a day, and we have to decide where to spend those hours.

That daily time limit is what makes FriendFeed so disruptive.

Allocation of the 24 Hour Day

The chart below is a hypothetical day of a relatively advanced social media user (no laughs about Facebook please):

The chart shows our social media user at three different points. I’ve taken the liberty of assuming that certain core life stuff is maintained consistently: sleep, eat, work, family. All else is flex time.

So with the core life stuff constant at 19.5 hours, and more time spent on FriendFeed, something’s got to give? But what?

Not websites and blogs. In fact, their page views go up because of FriendFeed. Their content is the currency of FriendFeed conversations.

I think the two services that get hit the hardest as FriendFeed grows will be:

  • Twitter
  • Crowdsourced aggregators: Digg, Stumbleupon, LinkRiver, Reddit

Twitter

I left this comment on Corvida’s post The #1 Reason FriendFeed Will Not “Dethrone” Twitter at SheGeeks.net:

My two cents. FriendFeed direct posts feel like Twitters, only you can see the whole conversation, not just part of it. FriendFeed lacks the @reply and DM, so if those are important use cases, yeah it’s not replacing Twitter. But for putting something out there and having your subscribers weigh in…well, it feels like Twitter.

I’m not the only one. Two heavyweights in the blogging world have expressed their feelings about using FriendFeed in lieu of Twitter:

  • Steve Rubel :”Who’s spending less time on Twitter and more time here? I am.”
  • Duncan Riley: “@geechee_girl true, and if I can switch to FF with everyone on Twitter, I’d start considering swapping most if not all of the time”

The key to Twitter’s success is not it’s haiku format, it’s the community, as Duncan Riley mentions. Twitter is growing fantastically, as more people adopt it (and unfortunately stress its current platform). That community is what makes it vibrant special. FriendFeed appears to be rapidly growing its own community. I’ll be curious what the Compete.com May numbers look like for FriendFeed.

Note in the allocation of the day, I don’t eliminate Twitter. People have built up their networks there, and tweeting has become a habit. Also, the @reply function is quite popular, as is the DM. One might ask if those functions aren’t essentially covered by instant messaging and email, but Twitter fans love ’em.

But I see the direct post + comments as taking interaction away from Twitter.

Crowdsourced Aggregators

The basic function of these applications is to surface the content receiving the most votes. Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and LinkRiver are great for discovering content that others have found valuable. Digg includes robust, active commenting.

Well, doesn’t that sound like FriendFeed? The system of ‘Likes’ and comments ensures that community-ranked content appears at the top of your FriendFeed page.

Again, FriendFeed doesn’t kill these services. StumbleUpon, for example, has a persistence to it that FriendFeed lacks. Content gets its moment in the sun on FriendFeed, then gets buried in pages further back. I’ve noticed the StumbleUpon activity around content can last for days, weeks.

But over time, as users discover ranked content on FriendFeed, I’d expect them to cut back their time on the other crowdsourced aggregators. Not stop using these other services, but check in on them less frequently.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps as MG Siegler said, there really is room for all of these social media apps. Folks will just expand the amount of time they devote to them. But I question that assumption. Your employer still pays you for your hours. Your kids still want your time. The human body needs its sleep. And you still need to eat.

FriendFeed is disruptive because it challenges a number of other applications. If you find something that offers an outstanding experience and provides a good percentage of what you like in other social media apps, wouldn’t you spend more time there?

I mean, there’s only but so many hours in a day.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=who%3Aeveryone++%22Why+FriendFeed+is+Disruptive%3A+There%E2%80%99s+Only+24+Hours+in+a+Day%22

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Explosion of Blog Aggregators…How to Keep Up?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen the names of a number of aggregation sites out there. It’s a very popular space, and I have not really understood who they were or what made them tick. But my growing enjoyment of FriendFeed made me wonder about what these other sites are up to. So I put together a high level survey of several of them.

There’s a really long table below. Before that, a few notes are in order.

Selected apps: This is by no means an exhaustive list. For instance, I just got into Yokway today, but haven’t had a chance to try it out. I just came up with a list from the serendipitous finds I’ve had. I also focused on earlier stage companies – no Digg, del.icio.us or StumbleUpon.

How stuff gets in there: There are three way that blog posts and news articles are added to these aggregation sites:

  • Submit: Users add a specific web page to the site, often via a toolbar ‘add’ button.
  • RSS share: Google Reader lets you ‘share’ an item in your RSS feeds that you like, posting it to your publicly accessible ‘shared items’ page, which is tracked by an aggregation site
  • RSS feed: The aggregation site takes a feed of all posts from a blog or news site

What’s interesting: Every site has its own secret sauce for what makes it tick. I tried to find things that seemed to each site apart from others.

Experience: I rate the user experience of these sites based how much was required to use them effectively. In this earlier blog post, I describe examples of light and heavy user experiences. Generally, lighter is better, but heavy can be OK for really good, distinctive features.

The point of this chart: It’s not to praise or bury any of these apps. Just to put together a list of what’s out there. If you’re an information seeker, a writer or seeking social connections with like-minded people, then you should check out some of these sites.

After the chart, I include links to other blogs with more information, plus a few thoughts as well.

Quick thoughts in dot…dot…dot fashion:

Diigo’s people matching based on common bookmarks and tags is a really cool idea, it reminds me of Toluu‘s matching based on common blog subscriptions…LinkRiver and Reddit have a very similar philosophy, with Reddit deploying a lot more categorization than LinkRiver….ReadBurner and RSS Meme are also very similar…Shyftr may have a light experience, but I’ll admit I found the overall user experience confusing right now (they’re in beta, it will improve)…Twine’s automatically generated tags for different categories was really interesting, need to explore that more…no notes on FriendFeed, just click ‘FriendFeed’ in my tag cloud for information about it…I kind of like getting my daily Social Median emails with news updates…Blog Rize has a spare UI, but it is strangely compelling…luckily, none of my blog posts have received the ‘lame’ or ‘facts wrong’ ratings on Blog Rize…

Wrapping up, here are some blog posts to get you started on the various apps:

I may be posting about some these sites in the days to come.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/e/9bdd0ad9-a377-f65d-6140-8dc4e835c6c3