Did anyone notice a larger than normal bump in their FeedBurner stats last week?
Last week, the FeedBurner numbers shot up from about 1,000 readers to more than 1,500. I’m behind on my reading, but so far, I haven’t seen this covered anywhere but on the FriendFeed blog.
Some movement in subscribers is common. However, this was an interesting surprise, since FeedBurner often erroneously lowers (not raises) the number of readers, sometimes by 50% or more.
Anyway, this is a welcome addition if you’re a blogger, mainly because it feeds the ego, but also it adds another channel to follow for comments and discussion of your content.
I’ve been a FriendFeed user since it was in private beta, and I love the app. The team behind it constantly adds useful features, months ahead of more popular services like Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook, only to see bits and pieces of their work added to these apps.
FriendFeed is an interesting hybrid. It combines the aggregation of Reader with the immediacy of Twitter (and now Facebook), adding that oh-so-important trust layer on top.
In the latest redesign of Connect, we added RSS import, modeled after FriendFeed’s offering. Lightweight aggregation like this provides an easy way to keep track of multiple sources in a single place, and even though it fractures the discussion, this may be the only choice you have.
In our case, we don’t have the bandwidth (or stroke, frankly) to integrate all the systems used internally for work, so we use feeds to centralize other content systems.
Even though it’s a powerful and useful app, FriendFeed’s traffic has remained stable, despite the usage spikes experienced by other services, prompting some to declare that FriendFeed is the coolest app no one uses.
My biggest problem with FriendFeed is controlling the noise. Unlike Twitter, each user can add multiple channels, making it exponentially louder. They have added some controls to curb the noise, and overlap with Twitter, but I still get overwhelmed each time I jump back in to give it another go.
Recently, the integration of FriendFeed comments into blogs (e.g. Disqus’ Reactions feature) has made it easier to see and reply to commentary about posts. This helps with discussion fragmentation, but it hasn’t yet helped me use FriendFeed for daily information gathering and conversation, its main purpose.
It’s too early to declare failure, especially based on traffic alone, but I do wonder about the FriendFeed team. It doesn’t feel good to see your innovation appear in other services while your traffic remains relatively static.
I do believe it’s early in the hype cycle. Look at Twitter for an example. Remember back in late 2007 when Twitter made an appearance in a CSI episode? Now, it’s all Twitter, all the time, in all media. As an example, the finale of the Ultimate Fighter this past weekend featured numerous references to Joe Rogan and Dana White on Twitter.
So maybe FriendFeed’s time will come, as n00bs get overwhelmed with goodness from the ‘tubes and seek out a way to aggregate all their content. Hey, FriendFeed may actually accomplish what RSS has failed to do. I certainly hope so.
What do you think? How do you use FriendFeed (ahem, John), and if you don’t why not? What makes it successful for you?
Find the comments here or on FriendFeed