Facebook Is No Threat To Friendfeed


A tweet by Lee Sherman just noted the following:

Facebook’s lifestream is a real threat to FriendFeed. It’s easy to add web services, much harder to recreate the social graph everywhere.

However, I’d have to disagree with Sherman for three reasons: demographics, different uses, and a closed community.

Different Uses

Due to the demographics of each service, users are utilizing the platforms for entirely different reasons. The the "stay connected" concept is the same, the way each audience is staying connected is for entirely different purpose, even with the additional enhancements of Facebook’s newsfeed.

Friendfeed users aren’t looking through a friend’s latest photo album or concerned with the hottest album or movie that’s out right now. No, users of Friendfeed are there for the conversation and content, which is a different type of content than what’s circulating on Facebook.

For Friendfeed, it’s about the tech community and the web. For Facebook, it’s more personal and intimate. And though Facebook is allowing bits and pieces of your web life into it’s service. It’s still going to be used for entirely different reasons.


Open Network VS Closed Network

communityIcon Friendfeed is very open. You don’t need to sign up to see someone’s lifestream. Though you have the option of making it private, most Friendfeed users don’t. However, Facebook is the entire opposite. They have more privacy features than I know what to do with! Most profiles are blocked off from the general public. 8 out of 10 times, you would need to be a person’s friend to to see their lifestream/newsfeed. That would probably be 3 out of 10 on Friendfeed.



At the end of the day, it’s dubious that Friendfeed has anything to worry about. Facebook’s users are entirely different, both audiences use the services for different purposes, and Facebook’s closed platform prevents it from being a competitor to Friendfeed. Sarah Perez is feeling sad for the average user of Facebook. I do too.


For Future References…

idea I really see Friendfeed getting acquired in the future, though I’m praying it won’t be by Facebook. Still, if Friendfeed does get acquired by an even large brand, that could make a world of a difference. Then again, if Facebook were to open their service (which I doubt), I’ll proudly recant this entire article, because that would make a world of a difference and not just for Friendfeed. Then again, Friendfeed could always integrate Facebook…

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira of Profy notes that:

No app can survive on the tech community alone. it’s too small and too insulated. You have to appeal to a wider audience. It may not be a threat in the tech community,but you have to think big picture with an app.

Facebook has that valuation because anyone can use it, and it has a very low point of entry to lure an audience in and ramp them up

Techmeme seems to be doing just fine in with surviving off of the tech community. However, Friendfeed isn’t all algorithm like Techmeme is, which Cyndy also notes. So, Friendfeed will eventually have to monetize, though it’s burning what cash it does have very slowly. However, Facebook’s mission "to help people communicate more effectively" is so far-ranging that who know how much money they’ll spend chasing that vision. If Friendfeed isn’t going to expand too much more, they won’t have the same problem as Facebook when it comes to monetizing. Facebook is still trying to figure that out for themselves, which may be a lot harder for them, than Friendfeed.

So, is Friendfeed safe from Facebook?

Check out Sarah Perez’s thoughts on the conversation in "Facebook’s Lifestream: Nothing to See Here".

  • sarahintampa

    Great post! You are all over Techmeme these days! :)

    I'm so proud that I knew you “when” LOL

    Did you see Marshall linked to you from RWW, too? Awesome – congrats!

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  • Lee Sherman

    FriendFeed will survive and flourish if it succeeds in building a community and I'd say it has a pretty good start at that. But I agree with Cyndy Aleo-Carreiro that unless it moves beyond the niche tech community that uses it now, it will continue to be dwarfed in size and importance by Facebook within the realm of social networking that they both inhabit. I don't like the fact that Facebook is so closed but like it or not that's where my friends are and there's no way they are going to start using FriendFeed (trust me I've tried).

  • http://datainsightsideas.com Dave Ambrose

    Nice article Corvida, and also nice to see you on the 'Meme after your post a few days ago about the echo chamber.

    To answer your last question: yes/no.

    You're about my age, so you obviously know the value of FB. FB was pretty unique at the time of their launch since it targeted our demographic, the college student. To this day, the legacy members of the site still use it to do everything you mention (and others) in your post. FB had an edge in 2004 because it was simple to use, elite to use, and lastly, consolidated everything one needed (over time, their services actually got better). Fast forward four years later (remember, it was during this time that any valid email addy would grants access into FB) and users/bloggers are getting frustrated with FB's “we own all” mentality. Little guys popped up that begin to challenge and ride off the coat-tails of what the bloggers are saying: “I want to take my data with me! I want to aggregate all of my social information!” FB, right now, is behind.

    What they did today was very significant: indirectly, FB acknowledged the shift in usage among the tech elite from single content aggregate streams to diverse services like FriendFeed. Think about it…let FB make the change to their back-end/front-end now while the tech elite are discussing it so when it eventually hits home with the common user, FB is in the clear. Will FriendFeed be around at this time? Maybe…their exit strategy may be even to get acquired like you say.

    A great space to watch right now!

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