FriendFeed beta, Twitter and Facebook

Monday, April 6, 2009

FriendFeed logo A new FriendFeed beta interface was released today. Launched in late 2007, FriendFeed is a social aggregator or lifestreaming service for sharing information with your friends. After fooling around with it last May following WebVisions 2008, I was inspired to start using FriendFeed today because the redesigned beta release looks really nice (even Twitteresque).

FriendFeed is similar to Facebook or Twitter, but it’s much better at IM and meta aggregation from pretty much every major social networking site (and even some minor ones). For example, in addition to following my friends via 57 different filter/import services (like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Last.fm, LinkedIn, various blog types, RSS, etc.), I also created a “list” of my favorite webcomics so I can easily enjoy their aggregated RSS feeds daily.

I like FriendFeed better than Facebook because you can follow your friends wherever they are choosing to live in the social media landscape. Maybe they only use Facebook or Blogger or maybe they only use Flickr and Twitter. It doesn’t matter. FriendFeed mashes it all together for you. Similarly, it’s a nice way to consolidate the output of that crazy friend who tries to maintain four blogs and a dozen social media accounts into a single manageable feed for that person. For me, the only hang-up of FriendFeed is not being able to aggregate information from friends’ accounts on other sites that are private or protected. Hmm. This means I still have to log in to Facebook sometimes, which is a drag.

Generic Facebook face reimagined (Jason Lee) Here’s a review published today: “FriendFeed’s redesign combines publishing and IM better than Facebook or Twitter.” A small downside to FriendFeed is that almost no one I know personally is using it yet. Whereas pretty much everyone is on Facebook and a small subset of those friends are also using Twitter. For those friends without FriendFeed accounts, I can quickly represent them (and their metadata) in my own FriendFeed account as “Imaginary” friends. (This makes sense if you try it.)

FriendFeed does have competition. Here’s a recent article: “Watch Out FriendFeed: Socialthing! Is Even Easier to Use.”

Regarding how Twitter is used, this is a funny post: “If Homer’s Odyssey Was Written On Twitter.”

Here’s the latest on Facebook’s new Terms of Service: “Do You Own Facebook? Or Does Facebook Own You?” Ugh.

Webcomics

I’m pretty sure that all of this will result in the end of the world. So, here are a few funny webcomics about social networking or lifestreaming services:

Good riddance and R.I.P. MySpace (unless it fairly quickly reinvents itself).

Also, I am buying a signed, personalized version of the CRUSH ALL HU-MANS! book by R. Stevens at midnight tonight. It is 64 pages of definitive Red Robot cartoons selected from over 2,000 Diesel Sweeties comics. Nice.

Graphic design

Lastly, these articles are really useful for graphic designers: “50 Illustrator Tutorials Every Designer Should See” and “Creating Retro Art Effects in Photoshop.” There are many good tips and ideas out there.

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