Monday, June 9, 2008

Free Product Development for FriendFeed

I’m going to head to the Apple Store (not a big Journey, I live 5 blocks or so from one) at 10am just in case, you know, the new iPhone goes on sale.

While I am certain there is absolutely no way the phone will go on sale during the keynote of the WWDC, it's only 5 blocks. Announcing it at the conference would cause pandemonium – and Apple would be OK with that, I’m sure. But it also might cause a mass exodus from the conference -- unless they’ve set up some kiosks on site.

But trying to convey information at a conference probably isn’t as effective if everyone is playing with their brand new shiny 3G iPhone. I’m going with Friday June 27th as the "available" date. But just in case....

In the meanwhile, more FriendFeed, the coolest thing after the iPhone. All right, in a battle between the DVR(s) and FriendFeed, I'd give up FriendFeed, but still...

Louis Gray is the most FriendFeedish blogger I know and I likely wouldn't be enamored with FriendFeed if not for Louis. This post from Louis I’m sure both greatly inspired the post I wrote yesterday and to play around with FriendFeed even more. While I was not intentionally trying to rip off Louis' "prior art", he was definitely way ahead of me on this.

I also recommend this post from Hutch Carpenter. Hutch asks some of the big questions that face FriendFeed, and contrary to what he says, I think he’s the bigger name in blogging (at least if it’s not about Nielsen ratings and Gossip Girl).

My (free) product development for FriendFeed involves helping new users out.

I’ve seen the suggestion that FriendFeed add channels. To this I say, “bah!” Let those who want to play around with Greasemonkey make their own channel tabs, that’s all well and good. But, I think it would be really cool if they came up with some categories (social media, music, television, sports, politics, geek gadgets, video games, etc) and then figured out how to leverage the existing community of people already very good at sharing items about such topics into pre-canned subscriptions. Instead of making people find people to subscribe to in order make the service useful for them, help them along.

Allow them to subscribe to perhaps as many as (10? 20? I don’t think it could/should be too many) all at once with one click.

It’s difficult because although blogs are often one dimensional in their coverage area, people are rarely one dimensional and focus on only one thing. But I think FriendFeed could actually enlist some of its community to create accounts for such purposes and share things that are relevant to the topics. It’s a hack, but it’s an easy hack that could potentially produce great results for newcomers.

The best thing about FriendFeed is the people on it, and yet I don’t think FriendFeed itself has even remotely begun to crack the code of how to best leverage that community (I see that as good news, not bad).

This thread got me wondering about whether FriendFeed should try to enlist some celebrities to grow its user base. Right now I think the answer is no. With one exception – why not try to recruit Bill Gates as a FriendFeed enthusiast? The guy is coming into some free time. A lot of people would be interested in knowing what Bill G. is reading. Either way, at some point in the not-too-distant future it seems there will be opportunities for FriendFeed to leverage celebrities.

1 comment:

bhc3 said...

Thanks for the link Robert! And I'm going to be in the market for one of those new iPhones as well. I'll watch to see if they go on sale today.

Regarding the suggestion for categories/channels. I agree. Doing so will make it easier for folks to see the stuff they really like, and it frees up each user from feeling obligated to only post content/like/comment on things their subscribers have come to expect.

In case you're interested, here's one idea for accomplishing that, Filtering FriendFeed - How Crowdsourcing Can Solve This (