FriendFeed: Part 1.5
Presentation: This can fixed fairly easily. Either by FriendFeed creating a simple wizard to customize the look-and-feel (Flickr does this) or by allowing full-blown CSS styling (Twitter does this).
SocialThing: I’m not part of the private beta, but from the splash page doesn’t it look identical to FriendFeed?
Now, another point that Eddie brought-up was what should happen when we replies to my post. Should he comment on the blog, thus tying the comment closely to the post? Or should he reply (via Twitter) to the Twit I sent him about my post? Or, lastly, should he reply using FriendFeed, to either the post notification or the Twitter notification. All of this head-spinning has led me to take a step back and think about what IS Twitter, what IS a blog, what IS FriendFeed.
Content vs. Aggregation vs. Notification
After falling in love with FriendFeed, I immediately wished that I had a desktop client (like Twhirl) to interface with. I thought about how I might be able to funnel my FriendFeed updates into Twitter, thus bringing them to my desktop via Twhirl. This seemed like a hack, kind of like the Twittergram (Flickr to Twitter) service that Dave Winer created. It seemed cool at first, until you started using a service like FriendFeed. Then you’d have dupe entries for an uploaded photo, one from Flickr (direct) and one from Twitter (indirect). What’s going on here? What’s the “right” way?
Content: Let’s take a step back: who am I? I’m Carter. What do I do on-line? Well, I create content. This can be as complex as a blog post, or as simple as a Digg for a particular website. All day I’m creating a trail of information, interactions and ideas. The ones that are public (my choice) should be made available for sharing.
Aggregation: Services (like FriendFeed) can help me piece together my on-line self. They have technical knowledge about API’s and RSS feeds that might elude casual Internet users. They have domain knowledge about the data that can be extracted from various sites and how that data might be normalized to produce a coherent “river” of my on-line life.
Notification: This is the social part of the puzzle. I have friends who live on-line and want to know be alerted when things happen. Likewise, I want my friends to be able to follow me. Depending on the number of friends and the number of activities performed on a given day, the number of notifications could be quite large. This calls for a chat-like river interface, where a missed notification is not the end of the world.
Is this notification part Twitter? I don’t know. Here’s what I do know: Twitter is much less appealing to me now. When I use Twitter (and Twhirl) I only know about content on Twitter, with users on Twitter. This is dumb. What if my friends are on Pownce, or just aren’t in to micro-blogging? I want to be notified about all my friends and everything they do. To me, this means having a client like Thwirl (or Twitterific, etc) and having it plugged-in to FriendFeed. Wouldn’t that be perfect?