When I thought about writing this last night, I didn't realize that FriendFeed was launching. Good timing.

My intent was to point out two things, really. First off, usage of FriendFeed seemed to be really picking up steam in the last few weeks. In retrospect, that's probably because they were letting more and more folks into the private beta as they got closer to launching.

But the more interesting thing to me was the fact that my FriendFeed activity stream has become a new place for folks to comment on things I'ma doing and even voice their approval. For example, my blog post titled The Difference Between the Rich & Famous and the Rest of Us got a few reactions yesterday.

friendfeed comments

That made me wish there was a FriendFeed API so that I could surface that discussion back on my blog. So I made a comment on Twitter and that garnered even more discussion on my FriendFeed.

friendfeed api

This is all pretty interesting. FriendFeed is, in a way, attempting to join together the loosely coupled bits of social "exhaust" I produce on the web. And at the same time, they've created another new source of activity that I'd like to pull back onto my own web site.

Once the FriendFeed API is out, a whole bunch of interesting stuff is bound to happen. Watch this space.

See Also: Friendfeed, the best software for conversations, raises round and launches publicly on VentureBeat

Posted by jzawodn at February 26, 2008 07:07 AM

Reader Comments
# Ian Kennedy said:

That's the one thing that nags at me about FriendFeed and Plaxo Pulse, another service that hosts comments about items on its domain. Rather than help distribution, feeding my stuff into these services results in yet another place to check on a conversation.

Rather than help distribution, the service dilutes attention.


on February 26, 2008 07:39 AM
# Bret Taylor said:

Jeremy, Ian,

We are definitely working on an API so Jeremy can accomplish some of what he wants in terms of pulling comments out of FriendFeed. However, it is worth noting that one goal we are attempting to solve is less related to "attention" as I think Ian intends the term to mean.

One of the problems with, e.g., comments on blogs or comments on YouTube or comments on Digg, is that they are public forums, so they tend to attract the lowest common denominator of discourse (flame wars, basically). That is not a hard rule, but I think it is generally true for sufficiently large "public" communities. One of our hopes with FriendFeed discussions was to limit comments to your (loosely defined) social group so it becomes a forum for private discussion with people you know. In fact, if your FriendFeed is private, only those people you have explicitly approved can comment on or see your FriendFeed entries. As a consequence, we have seen the comments and conversations on FriendFeed remain a lot more civil (and a lot more interesting) than many other communities, and it is our top priority to maintain that trend. Over zealous re-broadcasting could make the comments take on a different tone, so we are proceeding cautiously and thoughtfully to strike the right balance.

All that said, a lot of bloggers are using FriendFeed in a slightly less private way, so we want to provide the right tools for you two as well.

We really appreciate the feedback.

on February 26, 2008 07:56 AM
# Anil said:

I think that concern about comments on *your* content living on a third-party site where you might not even know they exist was exactly what made the Action Streams feature we did for Movable Type so compelling. I love having all of my actions aggregated, but I want the conversation (and frankly, the feed itself) to live on my site.

That being said, obviously FriendFeed is cool stuff, but since you've already got an MT blog, it seems a lot easier to just throw in a template tag to output that stuff on the site you already have, rather than having to write a client for a new API. Ideally in the future the implementations of this stuff on services like FriendFeed and Plaxo will interoperate with distributed solutions, and then we can just grab all this stuff as feeds.

on February 26, 2008 08:54 AM
# Justin Mason said:

Worth noting that Yahoo! has what appears to be a competing service -- MyBlogLog:


Mind you, I tried to sign up to it last week, it broke, I was told to email some Y! address to get it fixed, and never heard anything back about it. So it could do something totally unrelated. But the description sounds similar! ;)

on February 26, 2008 09:06 AM
# Ian Kennedy said:

@Bret, thanks for the clarification, I look forward to talking with you more about FriendFeed's approach as it's very different than the one we're building at MyBlogLog. I hadn't thought of the use case of using your FriendFeed as a closed discussion area so maybe that's what I'm missing.

@Justin, sorry, I should have clarified in my initial comment that I am the Product Manager of MyBlogLog and author of the post that you point to so there's a bit of an agenda in my comment ;-).

Both Bret and I are going to be on a panel discussion next week in San Diego and I wanted to throw this out there because I'm very interested in what others think,


That said, I'm sorry you couldn't sign up. Feel free to drop me a line and we'll get you set up. My email addy is ikennedy at yahoo-inc dot com.

Product Manager, MyBlogLog

on February 26, 2008 11:18 AM
# Mark Krynsky said:

Another major issue which I think the API will facilitate is the ability for someone to develop an Adobe Air client for the service. Having a push client is in my mind the killer app for a Lifestreaming service provider. The first to do this will gain a large share of the market. I didn't become a frequent user on Twitter until a decent client became available. I actually wrote a post on this with a visual of a hypothetical mashup.

on February 26, 2008 11:32 AM
# Mark Krynsky said:

I also have to agree with Ian on his comments regarding how comments being made on external services. A much better method would be to leverage the API's for a given service to push the comment to the original source of the content. My guess is there may be issues if the commenter isn't a registered user of the source service. But it is a bit weary to have all these decentralized comments floating around on disparate services.

Btw the link to my post on the Twhirl + FriendFeed client mashup is at: http://lifestreamblog.com/a-lifestreaming-push-client-is-the-killer-app

on February 26, 2008 11:58 AM
# James Day said:

Of course the commenter may have deliberately chosen to post their comment where they did and they, as owner of that comment, may object to it being reposted elsewhere. The poster of the original blog entry doesn't own any rights to control where and how people comment on that blog entry.

A deliberately fragmented web can be a useful privacy tool, while aggregation can be a threat to that by making it easier to link an individual and comments in different places. I'm conscious of what search engines will do any time I make a public comment somewhere. And regret that they generally offer no way at all for a commenter to control the inclusion of their comments in the indexes, other than by not commenting. Private commenting, with the commenter in control of distribution, is a very useful capability.

on February 26, 2008 11:56 PM
# Joe Zawodny said:

I'm sorry, but I just can't get too excited by this or anything similar. Yet another website offering a tool to 'stay connected' to people. Who has the time to keep all of these virtual presences fresh and up to date. I understand how the API would help, but are these things/tools/services/virtual gathering spots really needed? People are getting so excited by something that amounts to inventing a Lego piece with a different shape. Gee, now I have 37 different ways to accomplish the same thing when just yesterday I only had 36! Folks need to figure out what they really need/want. Watch, I'll have to eat my words when FriendFeed is bought up next year for several hundred million dollars.

Enlighten me.

on February 27, 2008 05:15 PM
# Joe Hunkins said:

Joe Z's got a great point above. However until the "killer social application" comes about I'll keep testing.

In my mind that application would collect and distribute all the stuff I want out there without me doing much of *anything* plus it would let me see other people's stuff *without* them having signed up and configured an application. Sort of a mega-techmeme that would organize and list all activity for any person I choose and also show that person's relationship to others writing/photos/videos about them or that topic.

on March 11, 2008 12:03 PM
# David said:

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on June 14, 2008 12:37 AM
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