Ok, so I got the FF bug before going to Twitter (you can follow me here).
So I installed Twitterific on my iPhone and turned on FF-to-Twitter integration. And I imported Twitter into FF, too.
This whole set up works very well. Twitters that go out of FF (as items that are posted to FF) aren’t re-imported to my FriendFeed stream (clever!). And comments in reply to twitters also go to Twitter.
The above accounts for 90% of the updates on Twitter.
So, what value do I see on Twitter?
Well, I have had several conversations, both public and private on Twitter with people all over the world. So yes, there is value there.
But I increasingly find that its easier to talk to those people that I’ve been following on FF for a few months already. And you’ll find that most of those people I follow on Twitter I also subscribe to in FF.
This raises an interesting comparison: what service do I get the most value from when i follow the exact same people in both?
FriendFeed is the clear winner here.
- One, FF makes it a lot easier to follow conversations, even across several different items. This makes for focused interaction on specifics. Threads rarely ramble, and usually spark a new one if that happens. I’ve see and been part of more debates that I can count, but always come out of it feeling good – win lose or draw.
- Two, we get far more from the stream. FF allows anything with a link or even just a message to be posted. Videos play right in the stream. YouTube video appear automatically when you post them. Google maps appear for location based services. Pictures can accompany the links, giving nice visual feedback on the item even before you click on it. all these little things and more engage the user far more than simple text can.
- Three, Likes and Comments. Both are nice to get on a item you’ve posted. And both help item to rise to the top of your stream. Its not unusual to see items a few hours or even days old suddenly appear. These are usually some of the good stuff that been posted. these allow you to see the real hotbeds of activity on FF. Twitter has no such system.
- Four. Twitter integration. This is a circular argument, but its nice to pull stuff back into Twitter. Especially since I’m not that fussy about using twitter directly.
- Fifth. The team. The FF team use FF itself to engage and interact with the users, giving them a voice into changes to layout and such. This is important. user know that they are being looked after. this will prevent people leaving easily. it certainly makes me feel better that they’ve got my back.
- Sixth, and finally – the API. The FF API has no restrictions on it and they provide libraries for all platforms and languages. Getting data in and out is easy.
- Seventh, Ok, this really is the final point. Rooms. The notion of subject oriented streams has really taken off. You name the subject and there’s a room for it on FF. The US Politics room was particularly useful during the election. The nearest Twitter has are hashtags.
So, I will continue to use Twitter. And I’ll continue to use FriendFeed. Both are very much essentials for the modern internet hog. Even if you don’t like (or have) an account with the facebooks and myspace’s of the internet, even if blogs don’t figure in your online presence, both Twitter and FriendFeed are as good a start as any.
The shared opinions of millions live on the internet, but I have my little corner of that universe. And that good enough for me.