Tag Archives: feedly

Scoble responsible for destroying the utility of the social graph

The other day I was talking with someone who works at Facebook. She and I were having a fun conversation about number of followers and all that. At one point she emailed back that I was “destroying the utility of the social graph.”

How did I do that? By adding people who actually were not my “real” friends.

I asked her to define “real.”

Anyway, this morning, in the comments of my Facebook post I saw a comment from someone named “facebook user” that said “people may not be leaving, but i know plenty of folks who are trimming their friend lists down to true personal friends.”

Ahh, have you ever thought that this is behavior that Facebook wants you to do?

After all, how can they recommend the best sushi restaurant to you if you’ve added people you don’t even know?

Hint: the Facebook employee is right. I have destroyed the utility of the social graph — from her point of view. But I’m there to study patterns of early adopter behavior. For ME my social graph brings me stuff that no one else’s social graph brings.

Which points to what I want in the future: multiple social graphs for different things.

See, I know that Dori Smith (she’s one of the two people who convinced me to start blogging) is a Javascript expert who works in Sonoma. So, I bet she’s also somewhat expert on wine. But, I doubt she’s expert on baby strollers or Half Moon Bay restaurants. So, I want to add her to my “wine” social network. Who would be #1 there? Gary Vaynerchuk, owner of winelibrary.tv, of course. He knows more about wine than anyone else I know.

I really hate the word “friend.” It has no meaning anymore. No one can define what a friend is. Believe me, I’ve asked dozens of people to define it for me. My wife is my most “true” friend, for instance but if you trust her with picking a great wine (she doesn’t drink much) or picking a great sushi restaurant (she hates the stuff) you’ll be very disappointed. You’d be better off asking @garyvee about the wine even though you’ve never met him and he probably wouldn’t be listed among your “true” friends.

This is one reason why I like Twitter and friendfeed. Friendfeed in particular lets me follow different people with different contexts. I can put @garyvee into a “wine” folder, for instance. But I can also put him into “social media innovators.” Twitter doesn’t let me do that, but Twitter also doesn’t try to force me to subscribe to only my “true” friends.

Anyway, in the past eight years I’ve met many thousands of people face-to-face. Just last week I sent off more than 1,000 business cards to Allen Stern’s new business, CloudContacts (and that’s only a small fraction of the ones I’ve collected since I’ve started blogging). His business is scanning them and will build me a new social graph that I’ll bring into friendfeed and other places to study. I can’t wait.

Regarding whether I’ve destroyed the utility of the social graph: that’s up to me to decide, not you. Not Facebook. Not my commenter. I get great utility out of what I’m doing. I see patterns before most other people do and those patterns are getting more and more useful. A year ago I didn’t have the ability to search Tweets or friendfeed items. Today I have very rich search features so I can go through my like feed, for instance, and find every item that mentions Evernote.

Think that’s not important? Well, Feedly, a company that makes a small toolbar that sits at the bottom of Firefox, is using friendfeed’s search API to find people who’ve said stuff about the pages you’ve visited. This is a new kind of application that simply was not possible a year ago.

Yeah, I’ve destroyed the utility of the social graph, but on the other side is a whole new world that I’m discovering has great utility. You must destroy before you can build. Go have fun with your social graph and stop taking this friend thing too seriously. :-)

New Feedly combines Google Reader, friendfeed, Twitter in great way for social network addicts

Edwin Khodabakchian founder of Feedly yesterday showed me why Feedly is cool (I recorded him telling me about what makes Feedly special and demoing these new features): it combines inputs from Google Reader, friendfeed, twitter, and elsewhere to make an interesting news display, but now it also — as you surf around the web — shows you if there’s a conversation about that blog post on friendfeed. You can read more about Feedly’s new features on its blog.

What is Feedly? It’s an addon to the Firefox browser that aggregates your sharing behavior together into a page and then adds a little bar to the bottom of pages that gives you more sharing and comparing features about that page.

It also is like a little StumbleUpon — if you keep clicking “next” in the little toolbar it’ll take you to another cool site your friends have recommended to you.

This is all crack to someone like me who lives on social networking sites all the time and wants to keep up to date on the conversation that is happening over on friendfeed about items.

But that’s also its downfall. How many people are like me? Not many. Do many people, when they are visiting a web page, wonder what the conversation about that page is? Nah.

And, if you see my Feedly page you’ll see it really is awesome. A good, quick, summary of today’s latest news. I think it’s better than Techmeme or TechFuga because it’s based on my friends and the feeds I’ve subscribed to on Google Reader.

See in Google Reader I have almost 1,000 people who are scouring the Internet for interesting new stuff and are sharing it with me. That is like having 1,000 editors working for you. It makes for a news page that’s quite interesting and amazing.

The problem? How many people have 1,000 friends in Google Reader? Not many.

Two strikes.

That’s why I say Feedly is ahead of its time. At least with friendfeed you can see what someone else’s experience is like, even if you don’t have any friends. I hope Feedly will move in that direction so everyone can see what Louis Gray’s friends are bringing him, for instance.

But, in the meantime, Feedly is very interesting to me and it has been added to my morning news reading.

Read/Write Web has a good article on the new features as well.