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.