Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Google Buzz, Pip.io - they are Simler, but can they Friendfeed?

Tech blogging: that's not me.
It's a crowded market these days and I prefer to consume tech content rather than create it. Mostly I use Friendfeed as a means to keep abreast of things. I follow some pretty cool people over there and if there is tech news (or any news, actually) afoot then I pick it up quickly. My go-to person for tech news is Louis Gray. I check his Friendfeed a couple of times a day because not only does he blog in his own right, he has shared his Google Reader picks in Friendfeed, which serves as a great filter. So Louis and the other 565 people I subscribe to keep me in the loop for everything (go and look at the people I subscribe to: they are AWESOME. I can't name them all so for everyone who pouts because I didn't name them, I suggest you #blamedrewscancer. And Louis.).

But Friendfeed: it's not forever.
In August 2009 the announcement came that Friendfeed had been acquired by Facebook. There was a massive surge of emotion from people on Friendfeed about this news, many people taking the stance that it spelled the end of Friendfeed - if not immediately, it would inevitably. Since then the community has gone through some cycles of change. Apparently some people think all the geeks have left - but obviously that is not the case. My feed has never been more vibrant. Which makes the thought of Friendfeed going away harder to countenance.

Following the crowd
As I see it, there are four main things that a replacement for Friendfeed needs to have:
  1. An intuitive UI that allows you to add contacts easily from other places.
  2. An easy way to track/filter your comments, likes and shares.
  3. An easy way to share your activity elsewhere.
  4. It needs to make community the heart of the endeavour
That last point, about the community, is key to any Friendfeed future. The panic people felt after the Facebook takeover was often because they realised they might lose contact with friends they had made - friendships that were only possible because of Friendfeed. People connected on Facebook and Twitter and other places to make sure they stayed in contact.

Lead on, Macduff
Since then other solutions have come and gone. I like Simler but I don't spend much time there. I couldn't find a way to use some of the others. Yesterday Friendfeed was excited about Pip.io and I signed up there to see what that was like (and yes, because I'm a sheep). It looks interesting but is not there yet. And today we have Google Buzz. Again THIS is supposed to be the one, the one that will turn out to be the long term solution.

Lifestreaming to me is how to organise and control disparate and multitudinous data streams. I want to be able to aggregate, sort, comment on and export my activity in the easiest way possible. I have a few Google accounts with two that I use for the majority of email I send. Now I am looking to see how best to use this. I've already managed to get myself in a jam when Blogger switched and I linked the wrong Gmail account to my Blogger account. Whether Buzz or something else replaces Friendfeed, I hope I keep in contact with all the people that make it such an exciting place to be. In the meantime I have another matter to deal with.

Now I have to decide who I am again. Who Am I?

Is this really me?

Or is this more like it?

Or am I actually.....?

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