Friendfeed And Twitter: Between A Rock And A Hardplace?

There is a chorus of voices that suggest that Friendfeed should inherit the mantle of web sociality that Twitter has claimed in recent months.

Steve Rubel twittered this, yesterday [first post at bottom]:

@infoman Friendfeed has RSS. See the bottom of the page. 10:41 AM May 24, 2008 from web in reply to infoman

@steverubel That’s the beauty of Friendfeed. You can participate from wherever you want. 10:41 AM May 24, 2008 from FriendFeed in reply to steverubel

As a next step I want to see Friendfeed allow me to publish to multiple sites, just like the TypePad Blog It app does on Facebook. 09:43 AM May 24, 2008 from web

What I hate about Friendfeed v Twitter: lack of IM support, lack of SMS support, no mobile site, no inline avatars, no way to skin the site. 09:31 AM May 24, 2008 from web

What I like about Friendfeed v. Twitter: no character limitation, easy linking, threaded conversations, covers all soc nets, killer search. 09:29 AM May 24, 2008 from web

Made a prediction that Friendfeed will be my browser home page soon. 09:24 AM May 24, 2008 from web

I can’t decide whether to post items here or just on Friendfeed. I find myself more engaged in the conversation there. Why is that? 09:22 AM May 24, 2008 from web

Duncan Riley makes a case for Friendfeed, based on the team behind it being more competent at engineering a scalable app. He notes that Friendfeed is ‘a noisy service’ but doesn’t really delve into the subtle differences between the services.

I believe Friendfeed is more attractive to those that want to have spontaneous comment-thread discussions somewhere outside of blogs, while Twitter is more divorced from the blogosphere and supports a more wide-open sort of cocktail party ambience, not some giant panel session from an endless conference. And the asymmetry of the blogosphere/conference model is continued in Friendfeed, where A-listers like Scoble and Rubel can accumulate a hundred comments on their pearls of wisdom, reposted in the Friendfeed context.

Steve Gillmor suggests that Friendfeed is the cause of the Twitter traffic snarls that have led to such a service nightmare:

[from Blame FriendFeed.

Remember: I blame FriendFeed for this, and Robert Scoble, Steve Rubell, Dave Winer, and all the rest of the puppets and ex-Techcrunch analysts who, by appearing to rationally debate the pluses and minuses of FriendFeed versus Twitter, suggest FriendFeed even exists in the absence of Twitter. Nik Cubrilovic doesn’t help either with his cogent (except for the Rails part) analysis of Twitter’s scaling problems. Nowhere in this debate (most of it mercifully hidden forever behind the FriendFeed black hole where conversations go to die) was there a word spoken about the fatal Track bug until Jack hit the Off switch.

Now, in the cool clarity of no pulse whatsoever can we begin to rationally approach a solution. Forgetting that Hillary has shown no indication of processing the similar lack of pulse in her White House aspirations, let’s put the blame for all this squarely on the parasite API suckers and their dark master FriendFeed. Good.

What is FriendFeed anyway? It appears to be an aggregator of all things social. For me that means my Twitter feed – which already is pumped indiscriminately and obliviously through my Facebook status updates – and my blog posts – which have completely ceased since I got sucked into Twitter in the first place. As the puppet says: Fascinating. FriendFeed is Twitter, only slower. Here’s my demo of the difference between FriendFeed and Twitter:

Twitter has reported that an ‘API project’ seems to be one of the issues that may be at the core of Twitter’s performance issues> Is it Friendfeed itself? They will have to start monitoring their APIs more closely for abuse, I guess.

At any rate, I don’t subscribe to the meme that ‘Friendfeed is better than Twitter’. Performance issues aside, Twitter provides a very different experience that Friendfeed, which I fooled with for a time, but which I have found to be like a conference with too many panel sessions and too many people. In Twitter I manage the human scale better, even with 10X the number of friends.

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