You could have hit me with a pine tree and I’d been less surprised. The announcement has been quite disturbing and disheartening to most of the community as we fully expect Friendfeed to be shuttered as its features are integrated into Facebook. There are plenty of reactions across the web so you might wonder why so many of us are so passionate about a little under-the-radar social network called Friendfeed.
Honestly, my reaction caught me off guard. I’m in the tech industry and tech comes and goes as shifting sands. I’ve long ago learned to adapt and not get married to a brand or technology. In fact, numerous sites could close tomorrow and at most I might be miffed or disappointed but I doubt I would have such a visceral recoil. My mood begged the navel gazing question of, “Am I really upset over the loss of Friendfeed?”
Yes, and here’s why.
Friendfeed as a technology was cool, innovative, open, fast, and amazing. It was the edge of discovery and content but these features alone are not why I’ll miss Friendfeed.
After examining my reaction I realized the underlying cause of my woe.
It isn’t about Friendfeed. It’s about Friends.
I’ve met the most interesting and intelligent people you can imagine from across the globe through this single service. I now have a host of friends that I might not have ever had the chance to meet and our watering hole is drying up. I’m not disturbed by losing the technology, I’m just going to miss the people.
Social media is about people. It’s about making connections.
Without Friendfeed I would have never met (much less had the opportunity to converse with) people like Louis Gray, Ken Stewart, Mike Fruchter, Micah Wittman, Kol, Zee, Hutch Carpenter, Steven Hodson, Robert Scoble, Marco, Tamar, Anika, and Rizzn. (Trust me the list goes on and on). These people and hundreds of others have enriched my life in a more ways than I can count. These are my people. I’ve learned from them, argued with them, laughed with them, and shared my life with them. Heck, I’m watching Louis’ twins grow up on Friendfeed. When Friendfeed closes we will lose the only place that we’ve all come to congregate.
We don’t need your pity for we are a salty bunch. We will find ways to connect without Friendfeed. Many of us are early adopters so this isn’t our first rodeo of seeing a service change and evolve. Some of us are optimistic that perhaps the proclamation of the death of Friendfeed is premature but that notion does little to lift my spirits. Friendfeed was the Scholars College and Facebook is the student union. Friendfeed is full of engaging content and conversations and Facebook is full of useless updates and quizzes. We’ve been expelled and told to go play somewhere else and that stings a bit.
Adapt or die. The motto of any technologist. We move on…
We will just miss our friends.