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.

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.

Rinsing My Bad Taste for FriendFeed

FriendFeedI love FriendFeed do not get me wrong.   I mean it is the premier life-streaming service.  I have tried others and found them all lacking.  FriendFeed is a great place of news, research, and generally friendly smart ideas.

But, over the last few months I found myself participating less and less.  The bad taste I gained for FriendFeed still lingers.  These negative feelings arose in the weeks preceding election day.

FriendFeed was not friendly.  It was totally pro one candidate.  Dissenting opinions were not only frowned upon but some users were verbally abused by the herd.

The abuse was even supported by members of the frienderati pushing their political views.

You know how when you see celebrities on television at some awards show being very political just because they can.   These celebrities have no more intelligence or insight than you or I.  The person with the spotlight simply pushes their own agenda or beliefs.

The Frienderati acted in the same way.  They decided that since they were popular they would use FriendFeed as a platform to push personal political views at the expense of whoever disagreed.

That practice is not Friendly.    That I believe is blatant abuse of the service.

Look just because you are popular does not make you God’s gift to politics or God himself.  Opinions as we know are like arm pits, we all have them and they all stink.

I will not name the Frienderati members fearing backlash.  I do not wish to start a meme.

I have been back on FriendFeed post election from time to time.   But, unfortunately the bad taste is lingering.  Every social network ever formed has changed over time.  The bloom goes off the proverbial rose eventually.

FriendFeed is a great product used by many friendly smart people.  The bad apples made this user take a step back.

The purpose of this post is to clear the air.  To rinse the bad feelings away.  I have been back to FriendFeed lately and find it relevant, fun, and just as lighthearted as I remembered.

FriendFeed is again the friendly place for news and information.  I will just remember to take off around August of an election year and return in December.

Merry Christmas and see you on FriendFeed!

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Is The Sky Falling?

The sky is falling
The sky is falling

Is the sky falling? The main stream press and my favorite blogs have come to the same apparent conclusion; The sky is falling. But I agree with Mark Dykeman. Now is the time to be calm and not to panic.

In fact as I posted on FriendFeed the other day, I believe,

“The market is down but the sky is not falling. Many economic factors have converged to be fueled by greed and an election year. 2009 will be great. There is no reason for despair. Undervalued, undervalued, undervalued. Things will go back up. Our future is bright and our economy is resilient.”

There is plenty of cause for concern and despair is all around us. The world economy is flailing, we are in a war with no end in sight, there is an energy crisis, and a fuel shortage.

Despite the outlook I am optimistic. Our country has a storied albeit short history of being resilient, strong, and courageous in times of crisis.

Where has our optimism gone? Perhaps it will return on November 5th. Regardless of the election’s outcome I believe the current problems are exacerbated by an election year.

The future is bright. I look for 2009 to be a great year. In the meantime I will keep looking up at the sky but I am sure it is not falling.

P.S. I promised on FriendFeed last week that I would begin posting again. I have several posts in the works and will get them out soon.

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FriendFeed on My Blog

Beijing 2008 Michael Phelps
Beijing 2008 Michael Phelps

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been working on several projects in my spare time. Most of my free time has been spent lately working on a WordPress theme from scratch and watching the Olympics. Michael Phelps is the man!

But, I have still been feed reading and staying up to date via FriendFeed. Jeff of posted a great post about getting friendfeed to your website. In fact he went so far as to add it as the main content on his site.

Today I have added a friendfeed link at the top of the page. I simply wrote a Wordress page template and embedded my FriendFeed content using the instructions from Jeff.

I am working on several new posts so stay tuned. But when my posting is sparse though find out what I am doing by checking my FriendFeed page.

Down with FriendFeed Etiquette

I am against FriendFeed etiquette. Over the past few months I have seen several suggestions and discussions about “FriendFeed Etiquette.” I would characterize all incidents as innocent suggestions by users trying to solve small problems they were having with FriendFeed.


The first example I saw of this was Duncan Riley mentioning FriendFeed etiquette. He posted,

“Thinking FriendFeed Etiquette. Obviously duplication is an ongoing issue, but I think people purposely reposting links to content directly on FriendFeed moments after the original person has it up is poor form. Sharing is one thing, doing this intentionally for attention isn’t.”

Duncan Riley was seeing abuse was attempting to suggest a way to curb the abuse.  He was seeing blatant duplication by a few “bad apples.”

Next, a post by David Risley titled “FriendFeed Etiquette” that I liked but totally disagreed with.  Here is an excerpt,

“Proper etiquette on FriendFeed is making your feed valuable to subscribers. Part of this is not only sharing interesting links, but also making sure you’re not adding to the noise by subjecting them to the same post multiple times when you use aggregate posting services like Ping.FM.”

Like Duncan Riley, David Risley was simply seeing abuse of the system.  He was seeing users posting duplicate content for personal gain.

Finally, a posting by Mark Krynsky.  He posted,

“FriendFeed etiquette. Find the original blog post to “Like” when you see other users promote it.”

I am not the only dissenting opinion.  The following was posted by David Knight in a response to Mark Krynsky,

“It’s a nice idea but that’s not a point of etiquette, you’re being nice to do that but it shouldn’t be a required code of conduct – it’s too much trouble and people won’t do it. Just enjoy the discussion that popped up wherever it is and bask in the attention and extra traffic that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.”

FriendFeed is a great service but is certainly not perfect.  I want to mention the level of development by the FriendFeed development team has been outstanding.

Noisiness is probably the main issue for the young application.  Hope is evident as that this will change soon.

FriendFeed user Michael asked today, “Does friendfeed do post duplicate detection yet?” A comment by Bret Taylor indicates exactly their intentions as he stated,

“No, we don’t yet. But the engineer next to me is working on it”

Noise in the stream has been a topic of conversation for months.  I first saw Hutch Carpenter mention it back in April when he wrote a post titled “Proposal to Clean Up the FriendFeed Clutter.”

But an informal Etiquette is not the answer even for the short term.

The FriendFeed Herd

A herd mentality can become a terrible thing. I am worried about the slippery slope of the herd judging user behavior.  Self policing can be great.  A good community though can go bad in a hurry.  I was a active Digg user in the early going.   The community did change.

I asked users on FriendFeed this question recently;

Former Digg users: What about Digg made you leave?

One user responded mentioning “Problem 1 – The cliques Problem.” As a casual Digg user I could easily see the power of the cliques. The top users on Digg still are the leaders of the herd.  The system is controlled by the herd and more specifically the small herds in the form of powerful cliques.

FriendFeed has had a much different feel. FriendFeed has been well pretty friendly.

There will always be bad apples in every bunch. Although sad and a shame the inevitability of people abusing a service and ruining things for everyone seems to be a social networking fact.

Wikipedia describes herd mentality as;

“…how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items.”

The point is that etiquette although well intentioned risks moving further.  It would certainly be easy for cliques to grow strong like Digg.  Then what is stopping the cliques from making their own rules.

I do not want the FriendFeed herd to become an angry “unfriendly” mob.

Down with the Etiquette

Battle of Bosworth 1485

Battle of Bosworth 1485

FriendFeed is social networking. FriendFeed is sharing, learning, exploring, and experiencing new things. FriendFeed is about community but ultimately letting each user have there own experience.  Each user can and should have the freedom to choose their own experience.

FriendFeed is also about community.  The developers have given users great tools for self policing.

The Hide and Block functions are the appropriate means for eliminating noise and removing the bad apples from your stream.  For more on the Hide function see this Louis Gray post.

Since FriendFeed is friendly let’s keep it that way.

Down with the etiquette and down with rules for each user.  FriendFeed is in active development and the problems that etiquette seem to help with will not be around forever.  Etiquette is not a noise solution.  I fear it a rolling boulder that will snowball as it speeds down the FriendFeed mountain.   The friendly place would be ruined.

User freedom should not be encroached upon.  I am for user independence.

Down with FriendFeed etiquette!  Long Live The User! Viva La FriendFeed!

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