September 25, 2017

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Can FriendFeed Really Step In for Twitter?

Can FriendFeed Really Step In for Twitter?

TechCrunch has a couple different posts in recent weeks regarding Twitter’s technical issues, which have become increasingly egregious (no replies tab? really?) and prompted many to wonder if the conversation will move off the ever-popular platform.

FriendFeed is the most-mentioned potential replacement, so I spent some time today trying to figure out how that might work. I am unconvinced.

FriendFeed is an aggregator, it takes information from dozens of other social networking sites and imports them into a nice tidy stream of posts from your contacts. As an aggregator, I think it’s at the top of the pile.

As a conversation starter, I’m not so sure.

In that department, I’m afraid FriendFeed just has too much going on. Users can comment on individual posts, whether they’re imported from Flickr, Twitter, Blogger, whatever. But those conversations are confined to that one post, and can crop up in dozens of places. While I agree with Arrington that those conversations can be richer, they’re also a lot harder to follow.

The best reason I can figure for why users have given Twitter chance after chance after chance (after chance, after chance) to correct its issues: its amazing simplicity. Of all the alternatives, Twitter is the simplest. It only has one function. You type 140 characters, people reply. That’s it. It’s easily organized, the interface is uncomplicated enough for my anyone. My mom could even get it, if she were so inclined.

If my mom looked at FriendFeed, she’d likely just say “What on earth?” and walk away.

So, until FriendFeed creates a new tab with the simple “Enter text here, read your replies here” ease of Twitter, I don’t see it stepping in to save the day.

That being said, I have really enjoyed playing with it today, and will likely start using it more than any of my other recent additions to my ever-growing list of online profiles.

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