What FriendFeed got wrong

Don’t you feel sometimes like your brain is running out of storage space? Myself, I am very forgetful. I always seek new tools to extend my brain.

FriendFeed is a fantastic social networking site. It lets you integrate all of your activities from all over the Web into a single flow. You can browse mine. Unfortunately, it has failed to attract attention. Worse: many of its features have been copied by Facebook.

Instead of trying to compete with Facebook and Twitter, FriendFeed should offer lifestreaming: an indexed and exhaustive record of everything you have done, for all times. In effect, FriendFeed should be an external-memory extension to your brain.

Note: This blog post was inspired by a chat with my colleague and social-networking researcher Sébastien Paquet.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

5 thoughts on “What FriendFeed got wrong”

  1. Based on your comments, I decided to sign up for FriendFeed. I find it superior to both Twitter and Facebook. I much prefer the way conversations take place on FriendFeed than other places.

    What did they copy from Facebook? I have not explored it enough and don’t see it copying things that are bothersome (such as quizzes).

  2. Lifestreaming sounds very similar to Gordon Bell’s MyLifeBits Project. What is the difference? Bell also wanted to record everything he did, both online and offline, into this system. “External extension to memory” is precisely what Bell wanted to achieve, in addition to the MEMEX idea from Vannevar Bush.

    There is another professor/artist, Hasan Elahi, who put his entire life online. Of course, that started as a way to get back at FBI, but it turned out to be an interesting project.

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