Monday, 23 March 2009

I don't get FriendFeed

I'm not one one to be shy with electronic communication. I've got this blog and the website. I use Facebook and Twitter. I'm a member of two online websites for authors. But I just can't get the hang of FriendFeed.

The estimable Maxine from Nature recommended it, and I've tried, I really have - but it just doesn't work for me. The idea is that it amalgamates all your feeds - Twitter, blogs, websites you like (I think) - all into one place. Seems reasonable. But then there are rooms for discussions on different topics, which can be sort of overlayed on your main feed. And people can comment and discuss any of these things - I just get lost.

Part of the problem I have with FriendFeed is that I can't be bothered to go there. All the blogs I read (you can see the list down the bottom of the page) are automatically pulled together for me by Google Reader. I don't have to go anywhere to see these. I use iGoogle (the version of Google you can add widgets to) as my home page, and on it is a view to the Reader - so every time I start my browser, I see the latest posts from any of these blogs. Similarly I use a Firefox widget called TwitterFox that means I never have to go into Twitter, I just see new tweets every time I go into the browser.

Admittedly I do go into the writers' sites and Facebook once or twice a day, but that's a simple, straightforward check on some conversations. FriendFeed just leaves me baffled. Maybe I've got the wrong kind of mind.


  1. I think the rooms and the discussions are the "killer aps". I guess both need a critical mass, though.

  2. I agree, Bob. I really only use Friend Feed to discuss crime fiction books with fellow addicts. I also use the science online rooms a little bit, but mainly, for me, it is an off-duty place where a few of us with common but unusual interests can share opinions on (often) the same books, linking to others' reviews of them, and so on. I think it is a "specialist hobbyists" paradise.

    I don't find Facebook or Twitter useful for me, but I know a lot of people do. I suppose it is just horses for courses - there are a lot of these social websites around which all do slightly different things - so it is easy to find the one that suits you best. I don't think FriendFeed is particularly useful for authors to discuss/promote their own books - too niche I think - or at least, in our "room", that does not happen, it is essentially a community of reviewers - there are some authors there, but they are there as readers rather than authors.