A reporter and I just discussed the PR industry’s use of Friend Feed. It’s for what I assume is a short, but well-intended story that shows the publication is tuned into PR nerds, er, early adopters. It just seems a bit early to be writing it.
I’ve only been actively using FriendFeed for about a week. But the interview forced me to formulate some first thoughts about the flavor of the
month, week, day. I’d like YOUR opinion on the following as you’ll see Jeremiah’s job is still safe.
First let’s define terms. FriendFeed allows you to aggregate all of your social content, scattered across several web sites, into one data stream. Sounds like an RSS reader, right? Kinda. But FriendFeed collects content from more than 30 sites – everything from a blog post, Twitter reply and Flickr picture to a SlideShare presentation, Delicious bookmark and Youtube video.
So if I’ve subscribed to 10 friends, I see my data stream mixed in with all 10 friends. There is a thin layer of communication on top of this so you can comment on each individual piece of content with your friends and, due to the social nature of the site, their friends too. Sounds like Twitter, right? Kinda.
Early Chatter Pits FriendFeed vs. Twitter
The quest for one magic site that eliminates the need to visit others seems to be social media’s holy grail. To that end, some wonder if FriendFeed can replace Twitter. IMHO, even with its recent issues, FriendFeed can’t replace Twitter (as of this post). As FriendFeed is still brand new, a lot of its capabilities are still pretty basic. This overview explains some other pros and cons compared to RSS and Twitter.
Bring the Noise?!
With apologies to Public Enemy, one obvious concern with FriendFeed is the noise factor. However you can hide individual pieces of content. And if you find yourself hiding most of someone’s content, unsubscribe from their feed.
New Tools, New Rules
FriendFeed gives us new ways to consume content. But if you use it just to broadcast what you’re doing, or to monitor what someone else is doing, you’re wasting its potential. The whole reason to get involved in social media is to engage in conversations. I’ve already connected with folks like PitchEngine’s Jason Kintzler and have enjoyed sharing content and conversation with everyone.
So are you fried by the crash course on Friend Feed? Wondering why you should even bother? This early on let’s assume your target audiences are not using FriendFeed. You can take advantage of this head start and experiment with it. Create an informed opinion on it. Learn the rules of the road…perhaps even by making a mistake. Or not.
Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Like Facebook was to LinkedIn, FriendFeed could be the competition Twitter needs to right their ship once and for all. In the meantime FriendFeed power users are making suggestions on how to improve the site. Hopefully FriendFeed is listening.UPDATE: PR Week did the interview referenced above and you can read it here.