Twitter is great, don’t get me wrong, but FriendFeed is a whole new beast that has quickly established its importance to the blogosphere. My first reaction when playing around with FriendFeed was that it was a source of information overload to the extreme, and that was pretty much the case for the first few months, but after I got involved, again, and mastered the “hide” functionality, I was quickly able to view FriendFeed as a much more valuable tool than I had once given credit to. FriendFeed has helped my blog to grow more rapidly, but Twitter just hasn’t been nearly as effective in that regard.
Social networking has quickly become one of the more important factors of the blogosphere. It has brought upon much change, and it is vital that successful bloggers be more social. It almost goes hand in hand. Tools like Twitter and FriendFeed have made it easier than ever to be social from the comfort of your own domicile.
Previously, I have stated that Twitter was my favorite obsession, and for quite a time, that was absolutely true; however, FriendFeed has quickly become something that I appreciate even more than Twitter now, and therefore, it has rendered the previous statement as false. There are some very important reasons as to why things have changed.
Twitter vs. FriendFeed
Twitter’s focus is on micro blogging—it is all about what you are doing right now. It is focused on you and your activities. Twitter’s strengths lie with the fact that many third-party services can find ways to make use of Twitter’s data, and there are plenty of applications that interact with Twitter. It is a solid and efficient way to communicate, and, for the most part, it has replaced instant messaging, at least in my case. It is excellent for these purposes and a lot more.
I would sum it up as a life streaming service without the extra fluff. It is a valuable communication tool. Twitter can also be a great compliment to a blog, and I won’t argue that.
Regardless of what I believe of FriendFeed, Twitter’s value to me remains unchanged, but FriendFeed has a purpose that I believe is much more valuable to bloggers.
FriendFeed, on the other hand, makes both you and your content the primary focus. It allows you to aggregate your activity from various sites across the web. If there is a feed, FriendFeed, in most cases, can put it to good use.
People are free to comment and “like” the content, and this is where the true value of FriendFeed comes into play. It adds a new layer of communication, and the focus revolves around content itself, as opposed to what you ate for breakfast. I think of it as one of the best tools for communicating about events, stories, articles, pictures, videos, and other various types of content.
Used correctly—meaning that you participate in conversations and interact with friends)—FriendFeed can act as a great promotional tool for you and your content, and it is vastly more effective at getting input from any particular item than Twitter because each item holds its own mini forum-like discussion. Conversations about specific units of content can continue on without the fear of it becoming lost or confusing to outsiders who might have missed out on the initial conversation.
So, what does this mean to you and your blog? Good question!
To put this into perspective, lets say we have a person who posts a picture—I think is absolutely phenomenal. Let’s assume that this person has only around 5 friends on FriendFeed while I have 100 friends on FriendFeed. If I “like” or comment on that item, my 100 friends will see that I have commented or “liked” that particular picture, and it will be displayed on their FriendFeed account.
I have instantly promoted that person’s picture, and exposed it at least 100 times. That is 100 potential views, subscribers, backlinks, and comments. This is only the beginning though.
An even more impressive thing to consider is the fact that one of the FriendFeed power users could, perhaps, leave a comment, and that picture might now have well over a thousand people seeing it. Not only will my friends see it, but their friends can see it as well if they happen to “like” or comment on that item as well. If I am friends with people who have a lot of friends, you should quickly realize where I am going with this.
Friends of friends would continually comment and, sooner or later, you have traffic that is as good if not better than StumbleUpon, Digg, or Reddit. It is the domino effect in action, but I believe that FriendFeed is an even easier method to spread the word about great content.
If something generates a lot of discussion, you can be sure that soon Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Chris Pirillo, Duncan Riley, and other web celebs will be commenting as well.
This is where being socially active can be extremely effective in garnering quality traffic to your blog.
FriendFeed, as mentioned before, can generate an impressive amount of traffic for your blog, but it also has the added benefit of having genuinely interested people wanting to read the content in question as well. There is an incentive for that friends of friends to read content if any friend has commented. It promotes commenting, but to comment, many people will read the post. It is just a win-win situation.
These people might be inclined to subscribe to your blog as well. My friends on FriendFeed constantly influence the content that I read, and when I have someone tell me about this amazing blog, I am more inclined to read and subscribe than otherwise possible.
The fact of the matter is that FriendFeed is almost like an alternative to Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Delicious; FriendFeed, howerever, has the added benefit of having a community focus. It is much more personal, and it is constantly growing. While Twitter is something that many bloggers feel that they must have, I think FriendFeed is something that might not be that must-have material, but those who know how to use FriendFeed will certainly benefit from it.
Finally, FriendFeed is a great place to learn about great content on the web. Twitter is definitely capable of this—I’m not taking anything away from Twitter in this regard— but FriendFeed takes it to a whole new dimension that has no competitive equivalent on such a personal level.
I have previously stated that I’ve used my feed reader less after discovering Twitter, but now I rarely need to bother with it as I know my friends are subscribed to similar content. They usually find it faster than I can.
It really is impressive to me, and I wrote an article on my personal blog that goes a little bit more in-depth with my feelings about FriendFeed.
FriendFeed will not replace feed readers, and I think feed reading technology is still in its infancy when considering what is possible in the future; however, I believe that FriendFeed is another level of filtering that allows me to find great content to write about and discuss with friends, and I believe that this is a step in the right direction.
What does this mean for me? Well, I will continue to use both Twitter and FriendFeed, but I will be using FriendFeed as a platform to communicate about content and Twitter as a platform to communicate about my life and with friends.
What does this mean for you? I would suggest that you spend some time using FriendFeed: add some friends to get the communication going, master the “hide” functionality so you only get relevant content (e.g. you can block all “tweets” from Twitter), and promote the content you create in a new way.
I can be found as JMowery on FriendFeed. If you have a FriendFeed account, let us know in the comments section. Also, let us know of any ways you utilize FriendFeed for blogging. Also, if you liked this post, consider subscribing to Performancing.