Sunday, May 18, 2008

FriendFeed continues to surprise me

I don't normally write what amounts to a sales pitch, or at least not in this forum. However, since one of the consequences of this discovery is less content in this very forum, I figure the breach of decorum is justified.

FriendFeed is a free service that allows you to gather all your shared content in one place, and, by extension, read and comment on all of your friends' shared content. Now, while I can appreciate how cool that is, it isn't why I love FriendFeed.

I love FriendFeed because it is a really slick way for me to comment on a variety of content. Google finally updated their excellent Reader to allow you to make a note on any item you share, providing some context. However, the interface is a bit clunky, especially when compared with the comment feature in FriendFeed: I add my shared items feed as a 'service' in FriendFeed; now I can comment on any item that comes in. But get this: FriendFeed also parses any notes I've made on those shared items in Google Reader as comments too, which I can then edit or delete (neither of which Google Reader allows, unless I want to delete the whole item). Not only that, but FriendFeed parses URLs in those notes so that they're ready to follow; Google Reader treats them as text that must be copied to the address bar.

Plus, it's easy to share any page you find, and include optional comments and an image. (Yes, Google Reader includes this functionality too -- except for the image bit -- but, again, you'd better not make any mistakes because there's no way to edit that note later on.) Then there's that new site that you stumbled upon: automatically shared. Party photos on Flickr: nicely shared as one item with thumbnails. It's useful -- I count well over 30 services that are compatible with FriendFeed -- and it just looks great. Finally, and possibly most importantly (particularly if you have a group of like-minded friends on FriendFeed, I'd imagine): you can comment on or simply 'like' other users' content, which is then pulled into a 'discussion' feed of those items you'd recommend.

So, now I find myself jotting down a quick comment on a shared item (either through Google Reader -- if I don't feel a typo coming on -- or waiting 'til it pops up in my FriendFeed feed), or simply 'liking' something that appears in my friends' feed or the public feed. Sure, some topics can't be summarized in a few lines, so this blog will continue, but for my (almost) daily thoughts, check out my FriendFeed feed, my comments feed, my 'likes' feed or a combination of all three.