Originally posted on: 2009-11-25

Original location: http://blog.chrisheath.us/2009/11/25/988/friendfeed-all-the-cool-kids-are-using-it%e2%80%a6-and-you-wanna-be-cool-right/

[a guest post, stolen/borrowed/offered from johnnyworthington.com]

Hi, my name is Johnny. I’m here to tell you about a social networking site so good, Facebook bought the people who designed it.


What is that service you ask? It’s called FriendFeed.

That’s right, you may have heard of us before. We have been called a rival to Twitter or Facebook etc but that’s not really the point of the site. We are a central hub, an aggregator, a Twitter client, a RSS catcher, podcasting client, photo sharing service and discussion platform… The most important part? It’s a community.

It’s at this stage I would like to speak to all of you who are Twitter Fanbois who are going to fill my inbox with things like “there are communities on Twitter” and “I can have discussions here” and “Twitter is the place to be because everyone is here”. I ask of you two things. 1) Realize that this post isn’t for you. It’s not about Twitter. You won, congrats, don’t be sore winners and 2) Send me a tweet @jworthington with the hashtag #wrongjohnny explaining your point. Only 1 tweet though. With those two elements, you have 115 characters left.

OK, let’s get down to it.

FriendFeed is great for not only aggregating your social media happenings but those of your friends.

But Johnny, my friends aren’t here… Don’t worry, we’ll come to that.
Right now you probably have close to 10 different social media sites at which you have accounts or place you content. Imagine if you could have a place that would combine all those into one visual, media rich spot.

But I already have that with Twitter and Facebook.
You may have your content importing into Twitter but let’s face it, it’s just links. FriendFeed shows your photos, audio as well as a the first section of text and images contained in your blog posts.

Johnny, I have all these tools on Twitter that I use.
Excellent point, let’s go feature-deep. What are they?

Oh crap. Well, we don’t have that exactly.

Direct Message?
Ah! We do have those. What is great about FriendFeed’s implementation of it is you can DM more than one person. You can DM yourself (puts it into your own feed), your friends and a group (which we will come to).

But how can I DM a bunch of people, doesn’t that take up message space?
No. The structure isn’t built into the message. You can DM 1 or 20 people, just like email. What is even funkier is that you can have this set up through email so you can send a receive them just like regular email. Did I mention you can post pdf, docs and other media too?

We go about this in a few ways. Firstly, you can reshare the item into your own feed. This creates a whole new item. Also, on the share screen, you can click on the quick link icons to send the message directly to that service.

But we have Likes and Comments. Now this has been confusing in the post so let me explain.

If I am subscribed to you, I not only see your content but I can see the other items you comment or like. When you like a post, it shows up in my stream with the note that you liked it.

In return, if you follow me, anything I like or comment on shows up in your stream. Now this can be overwhelming at first but if you use our hide and block tools, then it will be cool. I’ll give you a quick run down on those in a sec.


Our search will blow your mind. You know how you can search for a term or terms on Twitter? FriendFeed search lets you pick who wrote it, who commented on it, who liked it, how many comments, how many likes… on and on and on. I mean, the creators worked for Google, they don’t play around with search.

You can also set up saved searches, lots of them, and you can even have them ping you when something new comes up. You know that whole real time web thing? We were kinda in the front carriage of that roller coaster.

The great thing about FriendFeed search is when you block someone, they don’t show up in your results.


OK, so do you guys have spam?
It’s very small, but the team have given us the tools to combat people we don’t want to see.

Very powerful tool. If you block someone, they not only dissapear from your feed, along with any of thier comments, but they can no longer access you content. The same works in reverse. if someone block you, you can no longer see them. Block at your discretion, but do block if someone gets too much.

Great tool. If a post comes up that you don’t like, press hide. It disappears. Don’t like the posts that come from a certain person’s feed (like Last.fm or Soup.io), press hide then go to ‘hide other items like this one’ and press ‘hide all entries from that person’s service’. Don’t like a service in general, no matter the person, do the same thing but hide from everyone.

FriendFeed is a garden, and like all good gardens, require some work to get a healthy bloom.

We have those. What is cool is if you make a native FriendFeed post, the hashtag links to a search within FriendFeed. If the hashtag is imported from Twitter, the link goes to Twitter search. Nifty, right?

What’s also cool about FriendFeed is we have groups. Groups are like hashtags except they are a place where people who share a common interest can share thier content and ideas with others. The great thing is you don’t have to be subscribed to everyone in that group for them to see your stuff or for you to see thiers. You can also share your items to both a group and your main feed so both sets of people can interact on the one spot.

So, here, I have created a group called “Hi, I’m New Here“. In here you will find a cool bunch of people who are willing to help you with any questions you may have or issues etc. A lot of my friends will be here and they are all cool people. This is a good place to start looking for people to follow.

But Johnny, like I said earlier, I have friends on Twitter already who aren’t here.
This is where you get to play Early Adopter. FriendFeed has made it so easy to join FriendFeed it’s not funny. If you click here, this will take you to the signup page. Now you can log in with either your Twitter, Facebook or Gmail username. It will even find those friends already here.

Now send your Twitter friends this link and ask them to take a minute to sign up, even if they just set up the import of their content and never come back. Now you can see their tweets ‘natively’. If you comment or like any of them, your followers will be able to comment, like or response to. You can response to tweets directly from FriendFeed.

Now, let’s just say a friend doesn’t want to do this. you can set up Imaginary Friends. Grab all your friend’s feeds, chuck them into an Imaginary Friend, slap on their Twitter icon and you’re away. Now this is just your imaginary friend so any comments or likes you make won’t be seen by others.

Failing that, set them up an account, email them the username and password and tell them to pull their butt out of their head.

But now everyone is in my feed?
Now that you have friends, you can sort them into Lists (Twitter stole that from us). You have one major list, called your Home Feed. This is what you see when you log on. Now you can take people out of your main feed and put them into other lists. This will remove them from your main feed but you can still see their stuff by clicking on the list name. you can even have that person in your home feed and a number of lists. You can set notification settings for those lists to be alerted by email or IM etc.

You can set up a Favorite Tweeters list so you don’t miss anything.

About that, there is a lot of content here.
That’s what Best Of Day is for. Now it is important to state at the outset that what you see doesn’t equal FriendFeed. Clicking on BoD shows you the top posts that have been commented or liked by the people you follow. Now BoD works inside lists to.

OK, but no one is commenting or liking my stuff?
FriendFeed is really designed to find information and talk about it with others. This really isn’t a good broadcast medium. The amount of time you spend interacting on other people’s posts correlates directly to the amount of interest you get back. FriendFeed is a party, no one will talk to you if you don’t introduce yourself. We won’t bite.

We are a great community, and would love to have your contribution to the discussion. We have a wide range of interests and talents.

I could go on and on and on about features but I have given you the basics to get started. Visit the room, comment and like and introduce yourself. I am always happy to help as well as heaps of other people.

Even if you just join, pipe your feeds in and leave. We don’t mind.

We aren’t here because we’re trying to be cool. We’re here because we believe this is a great place to experience the world, together.


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