I’m a user (as in registered, not active) of both FriendFeed and Socialthing, and I’m going to fully admit that I don’t get it, even though my kindergarten teacher used to call me bright. Was she just being polite to my mother?
FriendFeed aggregates all of your friends activities into one massive stream. Friends can be FriendFeed users, or they can be ‘virtual’, which gives you a chance to Frankenstein them together from their particular RSS feeds & services that you’re aware of.
And here it comes: so what?
Only the most sophisticated of net junkies are using something like FriendFeed, and as one of them, it just doesn’t service me well.
1) When you mix blog posts in with twitters, you are falsely equating the importance of new content from each medium. A single blog post is wildly more important than a single tweet. Twitter users grow comfortable with “missing tweets” but missing a blog post from your favorite author is far more uncomfortable. RSS seems to have it right, because it gives me control of read/unread, and I can *optionally* choose to add Twitter feeds in if I think they are of the same level of importance. (They aren’t though, but it’s fun to argue…)
2) Since FriendFeed friends tend to be savvier, I’m seeing a lot of duplicate content as a user’s blog post permeates through their different services and reverberates inside of FriendFeed. This echo is just noise.
3) Frankenstein-ing my friends together at first seems neat, but the RSS that lets you do this is already being consumed in my RSS reader anyway, and the less savvy the friend is, the more likely they are wholly contained within Facebook anyway.
So ultimately, FriendFeed has become a duplicate & noisy data-source for stuff I already know about, and prefer to interact with elsewhere. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that all this fuss & need for aggregation of different streams… is being solved by RSS. And where RSS is still beyond most people, Facebook is doing a fine job of picking up the slack.
PS: I’m didn’t comment on Socialthing directly, because it’s a less interesting subset of FriendFeed. (although it’s prettier. FriendFeed should add avatar icons). Also, FriendFeed is doing one thing really well for me: their Facebook app is a great conduit for streaming my broader digital life into Facebook.