Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Community Is The Service

I used to love friendfeed. Essentially friendfeed is what I thought of one of the first 'lifestreaming' services. In their words they call their service one that

"enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends."

For a while there, friendfeed was a daily habit. Really it was becoming more of an obsession than anything else. I had discovered lots of interesting new people. My own network was starting to use it. And, the discussions there seemed to be more thoughtful and provoking than ones i had seen other places.


Something weird changed. I don't know if it was the type of community that landed there. But, firstly, people went from really interesting to the banal. And I"m not talking Twitter banal. I'm talking whole conversations on people saying, good morning. Hello. Hi. How are you. On and on it went.

The other thing was that I found, no one on friendfeed was ever commenting on my links or blogposts. Maybe i'm just boring. I can accept that. However, in my other communities, like Twitter and Facebook, I consistently get feedback, comments and have interactions that enrich the experience.

Friendfeed just seemed to get really cliquey. There actually seemed to me to be a cool crowd and the rest of us just weren't invited. There was very little reaching out. Very little interaction outside of a core group. And over time, I just got plain bored. I checked in with a few friends and they all seemed to have a similar experience as i did.

I still go from time to time. Check out to see if anythings changed. But it hasn't.

Mike Arrington
over at Techcrunch thinks the service might be too complicated and that's what's limiting its growth.

I don't think that's what the problem is. To me it's the community that makes the service not the other way around. And it's the community that's the problem with friendfeed. And no feature set is going to be able to fix that. Coolest app or not.

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