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This article was published on November 12, 2008

The Unofficial Guide to Friendfeed Part 1: What Makes Friendfeed Special

The Unofficial Guide to Friendfeed Part 1: What Makes Friendfeed Special
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Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos, designing, listening to good music and making lurrrve.


Friendfeed is a site that primarily focuses on aggregating all your online activities and using them to create your own personal lifestream. What many people don’t realise is how much more there is to the site and why it has caused such stir and devotion amongst those who frequently use it.

The moment I mention Friendfeed, I tend to receive a flurry of questions asking me to explain; why I rate the service, what it does, why it’s so good and how to best use it.

The following is Part 1 of my attempt to answer those questions.

What Makes Friendfeed Special?

1. Community

As you’ll find with most great social networking sites, it’s the community that makes the place. You won’t find A-Listers throwing their weight around or Z-Listers ignored, as long as you contribute and have something interesting to share – you’ll be paid attention to.

2. It’s Personal, this is your Friendfeed.

Everyone has their own Friendfeed, no ones Friendfeed is the same. This is because you can be selective about who you follow, who you block and who you put into your personalised lists of friends on there. Above all, you can customize the types of content you see in your feed by using a tool called ‘hiding’. Hiding allows you to filter all the feeds and shares that your friends add to their Friendfeed’s. I’ll go into further detail as to how to make the most out of this tool in our next post.

3. Discussion and Conversation.

Friendfeed provides a platform unlike any other for real discussion around specific content. For every post, photo, video, message, song even product shared on Friendfeed there’s a possibility of great discussion stemming from it. Twitter is great for quick shout outs and thoughts but it can’t compare to Friendfeed for conversation.

4. Content of All Shapes and Sizes.

Thanks to Friendfeed’s bookmarklet and feed importing, you’ll find video, audio, text and images neatly displayed to ensure the site is kept easy on the eye, yet very engrossing.

5. A One Stop Social Networking Shop

As Friendfeed gradually integrates with other services (including deep integration with Twitter) it becomes a fantastic way to not have to visit a list of different networks to just ‘catch up’.

6. A Great Learning Resource

The way Friendfeed has been created makes finding and learning about specific AND diverse content incredibly efficient. We’ll explain ‘how’ in the next post.

7. News and Fast

Thanks to Friendfeed’s ability to import content a matter of seconds after it has been posted, Friendfeed users are often the first to hear about news and have discussion already rolling.

8. It’s Slick

Ok, it may not seem it on first glance but it’s an understated slickness. Friendfeed runs beautifully, it’s fast, smooth, easy to use and very very rarely will you encounter pages loading slowly or the site as a whole being down.

9. Rooms Exploding with Relevant Content and Discussion

Hidden away when you first join Friendfeed are roooms. I’ll go into more detail in the next post as to how to use them and where to find them, but these are the hidden gems of Friendfeed. Don’t believe me? Just check out a few here.

10. The Friendfeed Team Listen

Thanks to the Friendfeed Feedback Room it’s a piece of cake to share a thought, an idea, a bug or a fix. You’ll find that more often than not, thoughts are listened to and if the demand is there, changes are made.

For more personal reasons as to why people love Friendfeed, see a great list here from Friendfeeders themselves.

You can find some of The Next Web team on Friendfeed: Ernst-jan, Boris, Zee, Robert, Martin, David

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