10 Reasons why Twitter is for you and FriendFeed is not

Dave Winer talks about why FriendFeed hasn’t gotten super popular yet. He thinks there’s space for a new service between Twitter and FriendFeed. Everyone knows I’m FriendFeed’s #1 customer, but I’ve been studying the two services for a while and have found 10 reasons why FriendFeed isn’t right for you.

1. Twitter has one way to get content into the system. You see a box. You type. You push a button that says “update.” Compare this to FriendFeed. Let’s try to count the ways you can get content into the system.

  • a. the standard way on the top of the page, but there you have to choose whether you are putting in a message, a link, a photo.
  • b. Import your site. Or your Flickr. Or your YouTube. Or your Facebook. Or your Twitter stream. Or your blog. Or your Disqus comments. Or your Upcoming.org stream. Etc. Etc. There are 59 services that can be brought into FriendFeed. Very few services do the same for Twitter.
  • c. You can “Like” an item. Here’s all my likes. There’s 11,500 of them so far, which shows another problem: too much content to go through on FF. Twitter actually has a similar feature, called Favorites, but no one actually uses that.
  • d. You can “Comment” on an item. Here’s my comments. More than 6,000 of them. You really don’t want that kind of distraction. You might have to participate and that wouldn’t be good.
  • e. Then there’s the FriendFeed toolbar bookmarklet.
  • I’m probably missing five other ways you can get content into FriendFeed. Like emailing in items.

2. Twitter has one display of messages that are 140 characters long. You can’t handle the responsibility of longer messages. Plus FriendFeed’s messages include photos. YouTube videos. Play inline audio links. And more. You can’t handle those distractions. Twitter is for you.

3. FriendFeed has a search engine that’s just like Twitter’s search engine. Except you can use that search engine to only search certain data types. On Twitter you only have one datatype. So much less confusing.

4. On Twitter you follow people by your friends telling you their Twitter address. Mine is http://www.twitter.com/scobleizer or you will see someone replying to me by using @scobleizer and you’ll click that link and then click “follow.” FriendFeed has a whole list of recommended users that you’ll need to consider when first signing up for the service. The recommendations, if you’ve followed me, will include such people like Mike Arrington, Charlene Li, Corvida,  Om Malik, Steve Gillmor, Jason Calacanis, David Sifry, and many other people. Now you’ll need to consider how those people got recommended to you and that might hurt your brain. On Twitter it just shows you who I’m following on the right side of the page — members who’ve been on longer are on top of that list.

5. Your friends are on Twitter, they don’t yet know what FriendFeed is. So, FriendFeed is totally lame. Of course, if you aren’t in the tech industry, or a US President Elect (er, his staff), or an NBC Camera Man, a well-known wine seller, a supply-chain manager in China, or a well-known newsman on CNN, you probably are actually on Facebook, but that’s a whole nother blog post.

6. FriendFeed doesn’t have Direct Messaging. Twitter does. Twitter FTW!

7. FriendFeed has rooms. Twitter doesn’t. Rooms seem a lot like old-school mailing lists. Makes your head hurt, so they can’t be a good thing.

8. If you don’t want to see someone on Twitter anymore, you unfollow them. If you don’t want them to see you either, you block them. But that’s about it. FriendFeed does both of those but then also lets you hide posts. Did you know you can hide just someone’s Flickr photos? Or her Tweets? Or both? Too confusing. You can’t  handle that, which is why Twitter is for you. Any service that has a tutorial on how to use a feature is just not for you.

9. FriendFeed has this Real Time feature. Here’s my RealTime Feed which shows 5,000 people being aggregated together. Twitter doesn’t do that, although Twitter search gets close. You just can’t handle that kind of distraction. Did you know you can put that real time stream on the sidebar on Firefox? You really can’t handle that. It’ll distract you to no end.

10. Twitter has more apps like TweetDeck, Twhirl, a ton of iPhone apps, etc. FriendFeed doesn’t have nearly as many third-party apps, so it can’t be as useful.

I could keep going, but that’s why there are millions of people on Twitter and hundreds of thousands of people on FriendFeed.

Let’s meet in six more months and see if anything has changed. Until then, FriendFeed is just not for you. Sorry.

145 thoughts on “10 Reasons why Twitter is for you and FriendFeed is not

  1. Robert, give people some time to adjust, the mainstream adoption of Twitter has only just begun (that is EARLY mainstream after the early adopters). Many people play with Twitter for a few hours and conclude its a waste of time for them.

    Also, would you agree that Facebook’s new design turns it into somewhat of a FF already (while having a bit more of an actual friend social graph – though not by that much anymore…)? Theirs and FF’s, MyBlogLog’s, etc. aggregation designs are still quite clunky and visually inelegant, to the point that, you’re right, it gives most people somewhat of a headache…

  2. Robert, give people some time to adjust, the mainstream adoption of Twitter has only just begun (that is EARLY mainstream after the early adopters). Many people play with Twitter for a few hours and conclude its a waste of time for them.

    Also, would you agree that Facebook’s new design turns it into somewhat of a FF already (while having a bit more of an actual friend social graph – though not by that much anymore…)? Theirs and FF’s, MyBlogLog’s, etc. aggregation designs are still quite clunky and visually inelegant, to the point that, you’re right, it gives most people somewhat of a headache…

  3. Friendfeed and Twitter = mini-blogs for people who can’t handle blogs.

    Because Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal and other are just too hard.

  4. Friendfeed and Twitter = mini-blogs for people who can’t handle blogs.

    Because Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal and other are just too hard.

  5. Even though I know you’re doing a reverse psychology trick on me, it won’t work because…

    Those things are actually true.

    Just because we have a technology doesn’t mean we need to utilize it. More queries and so on aren’t necessarily a good thing. Twitter is great because it’s simple. It’s text messaging for the web.

    There’s this old theory out there that says that as time goes on, people will use richer media. So instead of reading books, they’ll listen to audio, and instead of audio they’ll watch TV. That’s the out-dated theory that the video phone will take over the world (I don’t even have a webcam).

    But with SMS (and Twitter), that media richness seems to have taken a step back.

    Another reason I haven’t jumped on the Friendfeed train is because nobody I know uses it. Barely anyone I know uses Twitter, in fact. They’re still on Facebook and instant messenger.

    You know, any old people I talk to seem to all be convinced that all the highschool and college grads these days “understand computers.” I don’t even try to convince them that most of them barely understand MS Office.

    Interesting how the further away you are from the technology, the less distinctions you can make about it and the people that use it.

  6. Even though I know you’re doing a reverse psychology trick on me, it won’t work because…

    Those things are actually true.

    Just because we have a technology doesn’t mean we need to utilize it. More queries and so on aren’t necessarily a good thing. Twitter is great because it’s simple. It’s text messaging for the web.

    There’s this old theory out there that says that as time goes on, people will use richer media. So instead of reading books, they’ll listen to audio, and instead of audio they’ll watch TV. That’s the out-dated theory that the video phone will take over the world (I don’t even have a webcam).

    But with SMS (and Twitter), that media richness seems to have taken a step back.

    Another reason I haven’t jumped on the Friendfeed train is because nobody I know uses it. Barely anyone I know uses Twitter, in fact. They’re still on Facebook and instant messenger.

    You know, any old people I talk to seem to all be convinced that all the highschool and college grads these days “understand computers.” I don’t even try to convince them that most of them barely understand MS Office.

    Interesting how the further away you are from the technology, the less distinctions you can make about it and the people that use it.

  7. I’m still waiting for all my friends to join me on FriendFeed so I have to go visit them at Twitter.

  8. I’m still waiting for all my friends to join me on FriendFeed so I have to go visit them at Twitter.

  9. hmmmm … from my still in moderation comment from yesterday

    “Maybe there is another service that already does this?”

    I find this today.

    “Social Inbox essentially allows folks to aggregate not only their web services but also their communications services such as AIM, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL mail into one place.”

    Interesting, looks like I’ve got yet another social service to take a look at.

  10. hmmmm … from my still in moderation comment from yesterday

    “Maybe there is another service that already does this?”

    I find this today.

    “Social Inbox essentially allows folks to aggregate not only their web services but also their communications services such as AIM, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL mail into one place.”

    Interesting, looks like I’ve got yet another social service to take a look at.

  11. I love this list. FriendFeed took me a while but I now GET IT. :)

    I do hope more users cross over. I get tired of seeing mostly tech centric content. More people will mean more variety… and that will be a good thing.

    Great post Sir Scobleizer.

  12. I love this list. FriendFeed took me a while but I now GET IT. :)

    I do hope more users cross over. I get tired of seeing mostly tech centric content. More people will mean more variety… and that will be a good thing.

    Great post Sir Scobleizer.

  13. You are right on the dot! The simpler or lesser “features” Twitter has, the easier for “stupid” people like me to use! And all without a Features FAQ (although a short FAQ may help some others.)

    P.S. There is a Twitter add-on (or whatever you call it…a service!) that allows you to post pics and videos on your Twitter page but I can’t remember where it is, or its name!

  14. You are right on the dot! The simpler or lesser “features” Twitter has, the easier for “stupid” people like me to use! And all without a Features FAQ (although a short FAQ may help some others.)

    P.S. There is a Twitter add-on (or whatever you call it…a service!) that allows you to post pics and videos on your Twitter page but I can’t remember where it is, or its name!

  15. I had heard of twitter a lot as a blogging tool before, but I didn’t realize it could do this much. I guess I’ll just have to sign up for an account myself. Thanks!

  16. I had heard of twitter a lot as a blogging tool before, but I didn’t realize it could do this much. I guess I’ll just have to sign up for an account myself. Thanks!

  17. I won’t comment on FriendFeed as I haven’t had time to familiarize myself with it but between the microblogging (almost *nano*blogging) Twitter and feed aggregating FriendFeed is Google’s Jaiku (http://jaiku.com).

    I find Jaiku an indispensable forum for like-minded technologists. For me the core set of features Jaiku provides are just perfect for the effortless publishing of my views, emotions and happenings. While Jaiku headlines/titles (or just jaikus) are generally limited to 140 characters (via SMS or the web), comments can be as long as you need if you input them via the web interface (mobile and regular). Basically you can elicit discussion from your followers with a terse message and only follow up with lengthier opinions if the issue seems to interest people. I think this balances the noise vs. substance quite naturally if you follow an etiquette where you try to refrain from long comments until somebody has first commented your headline (in effect waiting for the subject to “sell”). Somehow without a true comment feature I find Twitter a bit like graffiti, or rumor-like, which to me feels like impeding the exchange of views. If it worked more like instant-messaging with a single line of discussion, I feel I could grok it way better. Now the split view between peoples related tweets is just confusing.

  18. I won’t comment on FriendFeed as I haven’t had time to familiarize myself with it but between the microblogging (almost *nano*blogging) Twitter and feed aggregating FriendFeed is Google’s Jaiku (http://jaiku.com).

    I find Jaiku an indispensable forum for like-minded technologists. For me the core set of features Jaiku provides are just perfect for the effortless publishing of my views, emotions and happenings. While Jaiku headlines/titles (or just jaikus) are generally limited to 140 characters (via SMS or the web), comments can be as long as you need if you input them via the web interface (mobile and regular). Basically you can elicit discussion from your followers with a terse message and only follow up with lengthier opinions if the issue seems to interest people. I think this balances the noise vs. substance quite naturally if you follow an etiquette where you try to refrain from long comments until somebody has first commented your headline (in effect waiting for the subject to “sell”). Somehow without a true comment feature I find Twitter a bit like graffiti, or rumor-like, which to me feels like impeding the exchange of views. If it worked more like instant-messaging with a single line of discussion, I feel I could grok it way better. Now the split view between peoples related tweets is just confusing.

  19. I’m on FriendFeed. It’s kind of ugly. And…. I’m out.

    Really, a troubling part of FriendFeed for me is that I’m not really sure where all the comments and favorites all reside.

    Twitter’s API means lots of web apps and blogs can capture, redistribute, re-broadcast, and ARCHIVE tweets I write.

    Many friends on FaceBook have no idea that my status updates are tweets.

    FriendFeed seems more like FaceBook in that it imports a lot but doesn’t export a lot.

  20. I’m on FriendFeed. It’s kind of ugly. And…. I’m out.

    Really, a troubling part of FriendFeed for me is that I’m not really sure where all the comments and favorites all reside.

    Twitter’s API means lots of web apps and blogs can capture, redistribute, re-broadcast, and ARCHIVE tweets I write.

    Many friends on FaceBook have no idea that my status updates are tweets.

    FriendFeed seems more like FaceBook in that it imports a lot but doesn’t export a lot.

  21. I’ve just started using both, but I’ve been using Facebook, myspace, AIM, email, etc for a long time. Twitter is just another of those type services, FriendFeed is an aggregator of most of those services. Using FriendFeed IS like trying to drink from a firehose, but once you figure out how to use it and turn the volume down it works great.

    The problem is convincing people to use it, or at least sign up for it. What I would like to see with FF is a way to request individual feeds, like sending a request to a facebook user that would allow me to grab their facebook updates into my FriendFeed list. This would present problems, but it would allow me to use FriendFeed to aggregate the information I want without having to convince my friends to join.

    Maybe there is another service that already does this?

  22. I’ve just started using both, but I’ve been using Facebook, myspace, AIM, email, etc for a long time. Twitter is just another of those type services, FriendFeed is an aggregator of most of those services. Using FriendFeed IS like trying to drink from a firehose, but once you figure out how to use it and turn the volume down it works great.

    The problem is convincing people to use it, or at least sign up for it. What I would like to see with FF is a way to request individual feeds, like sending a request to a facebook user that would allow me to grab their facebook updates into my FriendFeed list. This would present problems, but it would allow me to use FriendFeed to aggregate the information I want without having to convince my friends to join.

    Maybe there is another service that already does this?

  23. Serious stuff,

    I’ll cancel my friendfeed account when 140 characters feels garrulous.

    Friendfeed is a stand-up buffet meal after a religious service.

    Twitter is a city center railway station at rush hour.

    Pownce is a unisex smoking club.

    Sad about Pownce.

  24. Serious stuff,

    I’ll cancel my friendfeed account when 140 characters feels garrulous.

    Friendfeed is a stand-up buffet meal after a religious service.

    Twitter is a city center railway station at rush hour.

    Pownce is a unisex smoking club.

    Sad about Pownce.

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