I was reading this article on TechCrunch “Facebook Targets FriendFeed; Opening Up The News Feed” and I found it kind of interesting. As someone who uses FriendFeed a lot and uses Facebook less and less, I don’t think the FriendFeed team should spend much time worrying about this announcement. The reason is really simple.
In the beginning, the Facebook News Feed was really interesting. It was all information about my friend and what they were doing. Over time, it’s become a lot less interesting. Right now it feels like my Facebook News Feed is trying to do too much – it’s trying to tell me what my friends are doing, what applications they’re installing, what those applications are doing, advertise products that I might find interesting, show me photos, and do god knows what else in the future. Simply put, the Facebook News Feed is losing utility to me because it’s trying to do too much. Adding in interesting or cool things that my friends are finding or doing on the web will just make that problem worse.
I would like to see Facebook separate “news” from “activity” – “news” is stuff that happened to people (person x became friend with person y, person x is no longer in a relationship, status updates, etc) and “activities” are stuff related to applications, content sharing, etc. Trying to stuff news and activity into the same channel results in a lot of chaos and noise.
FriendFeed is really different. To me, FriendFeed is a community of people who like to share stuff. That’s a very different product proposition than what the News Feed originally set out to do. I don’t know that I’m representative of Facebook users, but I don’t actually want or need more stuff jammed in my news feed. Also, as my Facebook network increases, I’m less interested in sharing all of my web activities (blog posts I find interesting, my Netflix queue, etc) with that entire universe. People who are on Friend Feed like to share stuff and comment on shared stuff – that’s what they’re there to do.
If Facebook wants to compete with FriendFeed, they ought to think about separating news from activity. Trying to stuff both into the News Feed channel is too much work.
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