It’s hard to call Friendfeed a failure – a lot of people use it, and most of us love it. Still, it’s hardly one of the superstars of new media, not like Facebook or Twitter or YouTube.
Friendfeed is the ultimate cross-post destination. Whenever you post something on any of your other networks, you can set up Friendfeed to post the message as well. If it’s a Facebook wall post or a Twitter post, a YouTube video you like… and actually anything that can be shared via an RSS feed. FF got the idea earlier than most on how to make RSS feeds work for people. Where Google Reader will get you feeds from established sources, Friendfeed does the same for anything your friends might be into.
What irks me, though, is that in so many ways it is better than its competitors. A lot if it’s ideas on how to have shared conversations were outright stolen by Facebook, which eventually bought it this year. If you like the way you get stories and videos and pictures on Facebook, that’s one of the things they took.
The difference is that your friends need to decide to share those things with you, where Friendfeed simply reacts to what they’re doing. It’s a more complete look at your friends’ lives. If they want to share more information directly with Friendfeed, it allows that too. And conversations take place in the comments, and these are much cleaner than what you’d see in a series of Twitter replies.
I dearly hope Facebook does not scuttle the Friendfeed ship. It just works so perfectly. It offers a much wider sampling of information that anything else available, and no one has managed to recreate it.