FriendFeed: A Guide for Twitter Users

logo-b.pngWith all the frustration lately about Twitter going down, disabling features, and developers leaving the service, people still keep coming back for some reason. Frankly, there just isn’t anything that can fully replace Twitter. I think people have simply gotten so used to Twitter and have figured out their own ways to use the service, that moving to a new service and spending time adopting new ways of organizing communication is just too much for most people. Bring in FriendFeed – now, I know I have said previously that FriendFeed is not a competitor to Twitter, but they are getting closer and closer to being a reasonable alternative every day. At the same time, FriendFeed is just more stable and encourages conversation in ways that Twitter just can’t (especially when @replies are down!). I’d like to share with you a few ways that you can use FriendFeed to kick that Twitter habit, and utilize the full power of FriendFeed at the same time.

Not on FriendFeed yet? Sign up and see what you’re missing!

Joining is the first step. Be sure you have given it all of your favorite Social Networks, and especially your Twitter credentials. Don’t be overwhelmed though – the tips I’m about to give you will help ease some of that frustration, and most importantly, try it out for a little, give it a chance like you did Twitter, and you’ll begin to see why it’s so powerful. Remember that when you joined Twitter it didn’t make much sense at first either. It took getting in and using it for awhile before you were able to realize how powerful it actually was.

Find all your Twitter friends that are on FriendFeed and add them

One of my biggest worries of moving to another service from Twitter is abandoning the near 900 people following me. For some of you this number is much smaller, and therefore should be a little easier to migrate. There is a nice little program by Eric at InternetDuctTape (click on the link to get it yourself!) that searches through all your Twitter contacts, and then using the Google Social Graph API, identifies which of those are on FriendFeed. Run this now (sorry, Windows only – I ran mine on Parallels), and it will automatically send friend requests to all of your Twitter friends that are currently on FriendFeed.

This is only the first step to migrating your Twitter network over to FriendFeed and using the service on its own. Only those Twitter friends that are already on FriendFeed will be able to see your updates (you can actually post updates via the “share” button in FriendFeed), but now you can tell those other Twitter friends to come follow you on FriendFeed if they want to continue receiving your updates and join the conversation. The advantage FriendFeed gives you is that for every update and/or link posted to the service, users can actually have a discussion underneath that link as a community instead of guessing what it is they are talking about.

I fully expect someone to write a script (maybe socialtoo.com?) that will automatically post your “shares” on FriendFeed out to your Twitter account, with a link back to FriendFeed to discuss the shared post eventually. Look to see that soon, and all your posts can now be on FriendFeed with no worries of abandoning your Twitter network.

Get an imaginary friend (or two or three)

FriendFeed supports the concept of “Imaginary Friends” for all of those you follow on Twitter and other services that aren’t on FriendFeed. Simply click on the “friend settings” tab in the upper-right of FriendFeed, then click “imaginary” in the navigation. Click on “Create an imaginary friend”, and follow the instructions to create a name for that friend and what network they belong to. Now, those friends’ updates will appear in your list of other friends’ updates on FriendFeed, and you won’t miss a thing!

Reply to your friends’ Twitter statuses via FriendFeed

Now that you have all your Twitter friends in FriendFeed, on any post they make, you can reply, directly from FriendFeed! On any Twitter post, click on “Comment”, then comment and check “Also send this comment as an @reply twitter from (your username)”. Now, when you post your comment, not only will it appear under that user’s Twitter post in FriendFeed for other FriendFeed members to discuss, but it will also send an @reply to Twitter itself so the conversation continues on Twitter as well! I only suggest using this for those Twitter friends that are not on FriendFeed, because, hey – you’re trying to give up Twitter, aren’t you?

Get very familiar with FriendFeed mobile

Just today FriendFeed announced a new iPhone version of its service. The new design is very intuitive and easy to navigate, and I can only imagine will get better over time! The coolest feature is a link to their built-in ability to send photos to FriendFeed that you take on your cell phone. If you send any photo to yourusername+your_api_key@mail2ff.com it will automatically post it to FriendFeed for others to discuss and talk about. The iPhone version gives you the e-mail address you need to send to, but you can also get your api key via https://friendfeed.com/account/api if you don’t have an iPhone.

The other service to check out if you don’t have an iPhone is fftogo.com. FFtoGo.com gives a nice, mobile-formatted version of FriendFeed to your cell phone. Up until today I was using this, and it works very well at viewing what your friends are posting and discussing, what you’re posting and discussing, and who is discussing on the things you post.

Install the FriendFeed Comments Plugin for your blog

Okay, there’s really nothing in Twitter that compares with this or can compare with this, but it does demonstrate the power of FriendFeed. The FriendFeed comments plugin enables you as a blogger to allow your readers to comment to the blog post right on FriendFeed, and read what is being said on FriendFeed, right on your blog! It also shows who has liked it, and lets your users like it right from your blog. Ideally, you could really remove the current comments on your blog and completely replace it with this. You can see this in action right below this blog post above the Disqus comments by clicking the “show” link next to “Join the Discussion on FriendFeed”. Comment there and then go to FriendFeed and check it out!

RSS, RSS, RSS! — Learn to organize your FriendFeed data

Almost every page on FriendFeed has an associated RSS feed with it. Someone asked me today why Summize doesn’t support FriendFeed – that’s because FriendFeed has Summize functionality built into it! Open any page in FriendFeed, then scroll all the way down to the bottom, and click on one of the links next to “other ways to read this feed”. You can have new items on that page sent to your RSS Reader, Facebook, Google Reader or iGoogle, or even e-mail!

This has power. One way I use Twitter is I follow all those that follow me (using socialtoo.com), but I send all those I really need to pay attention to, and that are most interesting to my cell phone via SMS. FriendFeed doesn’t support SMS, but it does have another way to send you new updates of a particular user. Simply click on any username in FriendFeed (or just go to http://friendfeed.com/username or http://friendfeed.com/username/discussion if you want all of their likes and comments as well), and now all of their posts will be delivered to you via RSS! Add to this the power of Google Reader on your Cell phone and you have a superb way of staying up to date on the discussion of the most interesting people you follow.

One other way to utilize this is through the search box on the right of FriendFeed. Type in any text in the search box that you want to “track” (note that track is currently broken on Twitter), add the resulting page to your RSS Reader, and now all found discussions with that term contained (for instance, your brand, or your competitor’s brand) will be delivered automatically to your RSS Reader. This is powerful!

Use Twhirl for all the rest!

Now that you’re paying attention to all of the most interesting people you are following, you’ve brought over all those you can from Twitter, you’re tracking the terms you want, and you’ve integrated FriendFeed commenting onto your blog, you may want to skim over all the rest.

While the FriendFeed UI should be sufficient, Twhirl is an unbelievable tool for general FriendFeed use. From Twhirl you can skim over all of your friends’ posts and comment and discuss on the interesting posts, or just watch all of the posts you have sent to FriendFeed along with anything you have liked or commented on. If you click on the “Me” tab and “like” the interesting posts of your friends, you can then track the conversations that go on within each of those posts that you “like”.

USE the service!

The most important advice I can give to any Twitter user looking to move over to FriendFeed is to use the service! More people will talk about your posts, more people will “like” your posts, and your experience and conversation will get much better the more you use the service. If you just use it as an aggregator and don’t “like” or comment it will still be an interesting tool, but it just can’t replace Twitter until you start using it.

In the meantime, come follow me on FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/jessestay. Join the discussion below! I think you’ll start seeing me much more over there, and much less on Twitter as we all begin to utilize the full functionality of FriendFeed. Let’s just face it – we’re all getting tired of this Twitter downtime!

UPDATE: Sasha Kovaliov made the point (on FriendFeed) that I had the fftogo.com link wrong (I had it as ff2go.com). Thanks for the correction, and I’ve corrected it now.

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jessestay

Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

0 thoughts on “FriendFeed: A Guide for Twitter Users”

  1. I completely agree with a lot of what you are saying .. but in perticular, “but it just can’t replace Twitter until you start using it.” is kinda the sentence I'd like to comment on. The fact is, FriendFeed is, and has been, and probably will be unless major work is done, a news aggregator and commenting system. There is no way, no matter how you use it, that it can replace all the things Twitter does. And why should it? One of the reasons FriendFeed is great is because it gathers all of your information into a single feed, and this feed is comprised of all of your Feeds from different places. Louis Gray Posted : “Twitter is just a topping of FriendFeed's pizza. Not everyone agrees on toppings.”. Like she said, Twitter is a website to use on top of Friendfeed and in conjunction with it. Twitter is a Status Microblog, you post your current status to it, hence the “What are you doing?” phrase at the top of the update box. FriendFeed simply allows you to share things easily, comment on those items, and carry on a conversation. It doesn't matter what site you use to create the items. You can stop using Twitter, and start using FriendFeed, but you can't move over. They are very different sites.

  2. I agree with most of your points chacha102. However, the point I'm getting
    at there is that FriendFeed has the *potential* to compete with Twitter via
    it's “share” functionality. FriendFeed in many ways is trying to become the
    Google of the Social world, which I don't believe involves just search.
    They breach competition in multiple areas and have the potential to continue
    doing that and entering in more and more on services like Twitter's
    territory, where they will eventually no longer be able to compete in the
    future. I think if FriendFeed were to simply implement SMS for just the
    “share” functionality, there would be no need to use Twitter any more as I
    could then consolidate my status updates into one service instead of many.

  3. Yes, you might be able to consolidate all of your status updates into
    FriendFeed if there was a SMS feature, but another big feature of
    Twitter is the @reply function that allow for conversation (anyone on
    Twitter, whether you follow them or not, can start a conversation simply
    by directing a message at you). And at its current state, FriendFeed
    doesn't really support that, and I don't really think its going to for
    awhile untill it finishes everything it wants to accomplish in the
    sharing field

  4. chacha102 you're right on that one. Currently there is no messaging
    capabilities in FriendFeed. You can't send direct or public messages to any
    individuals, at least not very easily. There are still features that
    FriendFeed lacks, I agree.

  5. Good point. However, Twitter @reply conversations work best when you and your followers don't tweet that much. If you're a heavy Twitter user with 10 tweets an hour, replies are hard to follow. Let's say that I tweet Jesse at 8:00, then issue 10 more tweets until Jesse replies to me. Because Twitter doesn't have threading, it's not programmatically possible to tell the specific tweet to which Jesse was replying. (Things get even more complex if I send two tweets to Jesse, and he replies to the second one first).

    The reason? Twitter wasn't built for replies. In the beginning, Twitter assumed the “what are you doing?” model of one way conversations, and as the users started to send two-way messages, replies were added at a high level. However, the underlying architecture doesn't support threading, so you have all of these messages floating around which are difficult to link up under certain conditions.

    (Of course, this assumes that replies are even working at any one time. Lately, replies have been turned off at times to mitigate load issues.)

    If, for whatever reason, FriendFeed chose to support public or private messaging between users, and supported linking between these messages and their replies, then one of Twitter's main advantages would disappear. Right now it doesn't make business sense for FriendFeed to support this, but it enough customers demand it, FriendFeed will do it whether it wants to or not. That could harm Twitter, Jaiku, and the others.

  6. I think the main point of the twitter @reply features is to beable to
    point to a user, allow that user to see your post, and show that user
    that you are talking about them along with acctually replying to the
    post. Although I do agree with your point that today when I got replies
    back, I couldn't figure out who sent a reply to what, which creates a
    confusing atmosphere. Threaded replies I think would definatly make the
    conversation easier, but then it would require reworking the Tweeting
    system in a way that would allow for it

  7. Another Idea, I don't think there is going to be much of a way, except for smartphones with internet readily available, to implement receiving SMS from Friendfeed. Most of FF is focused on links, websites, and media that can't be sent via SMS. So I don't think they are really going to try to get an SMS feature if they don't head into the messaging field.

  8. chacha102 messaging is clearly something FriendFeed hasn't worked out yet
    (and who knows – maybe they won't!). SMS has been one of my issues too, and
    IMO that's one of the reasons Twitter is still around. Thus far, maybe only
    Jaiku is the only service that supports SMS for messaging in competition
    with Twitter.

  9. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  10. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  11. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  12. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  13. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  14. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  15. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  16. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  17. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  18. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  19. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  20. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  21. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  22. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  23. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  24. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  25. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  26. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  27. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  28. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  29. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  30. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  31. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  32. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  33. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  34. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  35. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  36. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  37. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  38. Jesse, great post. Do your readers get confused over whether to post a comment via Disqus or FriendFeed on your blog? Where do you prefer the comments?

  39. You choose – I'll see it either way. If you're on Friendfeed and like to
    comment there, comment via friendfeed – I do really like comments on
    FriendFeed because IMO at it's current stage it's more social and viral.
    However, Disqus isn't so bad either and soon will integrate right with
    FriendFeed, so I hear. I'm toying with both for now and we'll see which one
    makes more sense in the long run.

  40. Johan, where is your village? You may want to try http://fftogo.com
    if you have a slow connection – you may be able to get it up faster
    that way, although you won't get all the functionality of FriendFeed.
    Let me know how your efforts to get them to join FriendFeed goes.

  41. Concerning the community communication collaboration [ccc] methodology:

    I created a room for all the Simon's Town issues (pulling in news feeds, related twitter account feeds, blogs, etc). It's clear from this post that we don't need to use twitter anymore.

    All I have to do is get the community to register with Friend Feed and and get them to join the room.

    They then need to download http://www.twhirl.com and add their remote key https://friendfeed.com/account/api .

    When they have Twhirl open on their desktops they can go and click on the # to select the room. Here they can comment and read all the related news.

    The question:

    How do I add their Simon's Town related news and questions to the Simon's Town room? This is what I did for one user: I added the rss feed of the user to the room. But this implied that I knew the user. What if a Simon's Town community member join without notifying me? I suppose the best is to define searches to identify related news and then invite them to join the room.

    BTW: There is one reason why I would suggest people with critical info to share use Twitter; they can sms their news wherever they are. (I cannot see a way to do this easily for people who never venture further than email).

    The next step is to train 10-20 to get the CCC ball rolling. Thanks

    Johan

  42. Your article is educational and interesting specially for newbies using Friendfeed service and for some others too. I specially liked the RSS section and the combination with Twirl. Now with all the buzz about beta FF 2.0 this is even more alive.

  43. Your article is educational and interesting specially for newbies using Friendfeed service and for some others too. I specially liked the RSS section and the combination with Twirl. Now with all the buzz about beta FF 2.0 this is even more alive.

  44. Your article is educational and interesting specially for newbies using Friendfeed service and for some others too. I specially liked the RSS section and the combination with Twirl. Now with all the buzz about beta FF 2.0 this is even more alive.

  45. I completely agree with a lot of what you are saying .. but in perticular, “but it just can’t replace Twitter until you start using it.” is kinda the sentence I'd like to comment on. The fact is, FriendFeed is, and has been, and probably will be unless major work is done, a news aggregator and commenting system. There is no way, no matter how you use it, that it can replace all the things Twitter does. And why should it? One of the reasons FriendFeed is great is because it gathers all of your information into a single feed, and this feed is comprised of all of your Feeds from different places. Louis Gray Posted : “Twitter is just a topping of FriendFeed's pizza. Not everyone agrees on toppings.”. Like she said, Twitter is a website to use on top of Friendfeed and in conjunction with it. Twitter is a Status Microblog, you post your current status to it, hence the “What are you doing?” phrase at the top of the update box. FriendFeed simply allows you to share things easily, comment on those items, and carry on a conversation. It doesn't matter what site you use to create the items. You can stop using Twitter, and start using FriendFeed, but you can't move over. They are very different sites.

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