Arrington Interviews Paul Buchheit

Michael Arrington has interviewed Paul Buchheit the FriendFeed co-founder.   This video gives some insight into the fate of FriendFeed.   FriendFeed was purchased recently by Facebook and the status of the small social network has been uncertain.

The FriendFeed community has been shocked and worried at first but seems to have rebounded with more optimism as of late.  This post by Louis Gray a prominent FriendFeed user had eased my fear and pessimism.

This interview although posing more questions and uncertainly does give this FriendFeed user a reason to have “a bit” more hope for FriendFeed’s future.

The Rise and Fall of FriendFeed

FriendFeed may you rest in peace.   You rose as a startup during a time when others rose as well but quickly fell away.  You gave us features, innovation, and friends interested in the same things.  You showed us what the real-time web will be like.  You showed us real time search.  You kept all of our data and allowed all of our historical content to be searched.   Please don’t go.

FriendFeed the early adopter heralded life-stream social network founded by ex-Googlers has been purchased by the popular Facebook.

Facebook the giant social network has lots of features but rarely anything interesting beyond family photos and generic status messages.  The tech early adopter crowd is surely present but certainly not interested and engaged.  Facebook also has a big problem with user rights.  User accounts have been removed for seemingly no reason on several occasions.

The FriendFeed userbase is small.  While Facebook’s number of users is estimated at near 300 million.

FriendFeed defined lifestream.  FriendFeed was able to innovative constantly over a several year period.  The features seem to always keep coming but the service has never seemed to hit its mainstream slide.  As Facebook and Twitter continue to pile on users FriendFeed’s growth was slower.

The best product does not always win.  Just look at Betamax.  But in business startups come and go.  Tech startups certainly come and go.  The tech giants have always gobbled up the innovative little guy.   FriendFeed is the innovative little guy.

For a company with 14 employees to innovate to the point that the giant company with 800 employees and 300 million users would steal enhancement after enhancement.  That they would then seek out to purchase the little guy shows the quality of FriendFeed.

Others have weighed in so let’s start there:

Let me go on record as saying congrats to the FriendFeed dev team.  They were offered a chance to develop a product with an immense user base.  Their growth was slower and this had to be a tremendous opportunity for them.

I have written this saying this is the demise or the beginning of the end for FriendFeed.  But others are more optimistic.

Robert Scoble sees this as Facebook gaining a “real-time, R&D team.”   Jesse Stay says, “FriendFeed has a very competent team.  We still don’t know what was in that contract they signed.  Sure, we have some hints, but FriendFeed has yet to let us down.  They have a perfect track record for long-time users of their service.”

Head on over to FriendFeed and check the very worried community.  Only time will tell.  Good luck FriendFeed and if this is farewell it was fun while it lasted.

Traditional Media Organizations For The Big Picture


Old Dogs New Tricks

In this new media revolution that has been fueled by technology the old rules and old players are dying.  The survivors of big media have been forced into new revenue models and it seems that all the rules they knew have changed. 

Print media organizations position changed with the advent of television.   Print media seemed to have a rebirth in electronic form in the early days of the web. 

Video was certainly present in the early days of the web but was not the player it is today.  Video has gotten so much easier as bandwidths as a whole have increased and video codecs and technologies have evolved. 

Print organizations now can easily do video for the web and provide rich web content.   The survival of the fittest media conglomerates evolves adapting, adopting, enveloping, and embracing the real time web. 

The old dogs have learned new tricks that the rest of the web has quickly shown them.  Some of the old dogs are more adept at learning than others. 

The value of the traditional media is the big picture.   The little picture real time story has forever been lost to new media. 

Real-Time Web

The real time story no longer belongs to the old dogs.  Social Media plus the cloud has changed that.  

Twitter and Facebook users report in real time what is happening.   FriendFeed aggregates it.  Conversation happens minutes and hours before CNN can pick it up.  

Anyone with text messaging can be a pseudo-street reporter.  Video via mobile phone is streamed live as events unfold.   QIK and many others are speeding along with live streaming. 

So simple print media and video are happening on the web getting swallowed up by FriendFeed.   Meanwhile as the event continues to unfold it is getting commented on, video commented on, rebroadcast live, blogged on and podcasted on.  

CNN will pick up the story but it is too little too late for the live coverage.  The best big media can do is what they are doing. 

Folding the external sources of eyewitness accounts, photos, and videos into their coverage.   They can sift the noise for quality eyewitness media and recap the story.  They can do this relatively quickly but not really live and besides the live accounts, pictures, and video are in the wild of the web.

The real-time story is over for traditional media.   As the web improves and evolves it will be more and more apparent.  But, traditional media can provide value. 

Iran Example

Iran is a great example of where a big guy can provide value.   My wife and I have 3 children and she is stay at home mom.  Her day is filled with children not media and rarely news.  

At the end of the day I will occasionally tell her of the significant world news.  I turn to traditional media to recap the days events.

Traditional media is valuable for the big picture.   I read the New York Times almost daily.   The quality of the reporting and writing is great.  

I read for news not commentary all opinion pieces aside.  The blogosphere contains some talented writers but the polish of an international desk writer at the Times is valuable.  

You know what to expect and you get it.  No writer is perfect everyone swings and misses occasionally.  But, the quality average is second to none. 

I read an article today to give wife an update on Iran it was great.  Here is an excerpt:

“Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly cut off any compromise over the nation’s disputed elections on Friday. In a long and hard-line sermon, he declared the elections valid and warned of violence if demonstrators continue, as they have pledged, to flood the streets in defiance of the government.

The article was just what I required a well written summary of the days events. 

The real-time web and social media will continue to evolve as the web becomes more of a part of our daily lives.   Succinct, well written, reporting, of the big picture will give traditional media a role for a very long time. 

WordPress Tip: Function is_user_logged_in

A PHP function is available in WordPress called is_user_logged_in that is very useful if you want to know if a user is logged in.  Why on earth would you want to know this?  Have you ever thought about adding custom content to your blog that only you can see or only logged in (registered users) can see?

If so this function is for you.  I recently updated my blog’s theme and realized that it has some space that could be used for secondary navigation.  nolinks1 The area in red seemed to me like a great place for additional links.

This is where the function is_user_logged_in can help me out.   In this case the area highlighted in red has its own div tag.  It currently looks like this:

<div id=”nav-space”></div>

Inside the div tag I place the following 2 lines.

<?php if (is_user_logged_in()){ ?>
<?php } ?>

The 2 lines call the function is_user logged_in and evaluate the return value with my if statement. The second statement simply closes or ends the if. Do not worry if you do not understand.  Let me just tell you what it does.

Suffice it to say that anything you put between the 2 lines will be seen by logged in users only. For this example I am going to insert a link.

<div id=”nav-space”>
<?php if (is_user_logged_in()){ ?>
<a href=””>Google</a>
<?php } ?>

In the example just above a link to Google will be placed in the red area above that can only be seen by a logged in user.  In this case, me!

Now let’s put it in to practice.    I have added 3 links to the red bar section.  I now have access to facebook, friendfeed, and twitter right in my header section. I like this.  I think I will add some additional links later.

Now remember they will only display if you are logged in.  If you are like me you mainly use the same computers and stay logged in.  As long as you are logged in you will see your links.

Do you hang out on your own blog alot?  Would you like to use your own blog for a mini portal? Do you have free navigation space available?

This is great for me and adds functionality for my purposes but leaves the blog crisp and clean for visitors.  Try this WordPress trick in your theme today.

Writing From Shower Thoughts


Do you ever have an idea for a blog post but then it spirals out of control and you end up with more ideas, less ideas, or nowhere at all?

I began this morning with a “shower thought.”  I will define a shower thought as; the half asleep thoughts or fuzzy brainstorming that just seems to flow just after you wake up that sometimes occur while taking a shower.

Your brain and body still half asleep combine to form what seem like good ideas.  Before I knew it I had an idea for a blog post.

Later when trying to write from concept (maybe nothing more than a title) you end up with a post, 3, or nothing writable at all.  Some shower thoughts end up nowhere.

This morning I had a shower thought and had a title for what I thought could be a single blog post.   In this case a rough outline revealed up to 3 possible posts not just 1.

I have heard others say they keep paper and pen with them at all times night or day to record a fleeting idea.  Inspiration may strike like lightening at the strangest times.

When I write based upon a “shower thought” I usually start with a rough outline or notes.  Then I just start writing the post and see how far it goes.  You never know where it will end up.

I do not worry about where I start.  I just write and see where the post takes me.  I do not know if the outcome will be  great or not I just go down the path to find out.

At the end of the road if the result is not post worthy or incomplete then you can always wait for the next shower thought.

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Embed FriendFeed Real-Time on Your Blog

Did you know you could embed your Real-Time FriendFeed view on your blog? I didn’t but this has been available for some time. The following is my real-time FriendFeed view.

This will become a integrated part of my FriendFeed page.

Here’s how to do it. This is done by embedding an iFrame. I am still not sure an iFrame is functionality but it is cool.

To embed your Real-Time goto where your username is your username. Then Click the The embed in WebPage button. Try it out.