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A personal take on various topics

Why Every Twitter Power User Should Use Friendfeed?

That does sound counterintuitive indeed. But here’s why as you twitter more, using friendfeed is only going to help you get better at it.

Brief Introduction

Friendfeed is a lifestreaming service. You create an account and link it to many other of your information sources eg. your blog, your twitter account, delicious, flickr, google reader etc. This is called your feed. Anytime you post a blog entry, bookmark on delicious, post a photo to flickr, or share a post on google reader, friendfeed’s watching you. It pulls it all together into one feed - your friendfeed. Friendfeed has a similar subscription model like twitter as well. You subscribe to your friend’s friendfeed. You now start getting their unified feeds getting streamed into your home page on friendfeed. So how does using friendfeed help ?

Friendlists

Friendfeed gives you three friendlists - Personal, Professional and Favorites in addition to the default Home list. You can create additional friendlists. eg. I create lists like interesting, geeks, social-media etc. etc. The people I would generally like to monitor, I put them in my Home list. In addition people whose tweets/feed items I don’t want to miss - I put them in the Favorites list. In addition, I classify people into other lists based on my preferred categories for following. Now I know that even when I am back to my computer after a long time away, I can still follow my favourites by clicking on the Favorites group. People I may choose to follow only infrequently, I can move to a list different from the home feed. Use it whichever way you want. A little experimenting and you’ll be on your way.

Twitter Integration

If you are a power twitter user, the first thing you would want to do is link your twitter account. This is bidirectional. All your tweets will appear in most cases near instantaneously on your feed as well. In your settings panel there’s a link called “Twitter Publishing Preferences”. Click on that and that will allow you to have the entries in your friendfeed getting posted to twitter as well. Make sure to tick the checkbox ”Link to source site instead of FriendFeed conversation (does not apply to comments)”. This will ensure that whatever gets tweeted to from friendfeed will not point back to the friendfeed entry but to the source entry instead. You can also selectively choose the feed items that you would like to push to twitter. Now anything you tweet is pulled into friendfeed and anything you post to friendfeed (and the entries it pulls in from other sources as well) are pushed into twitter. Sometimes all you’ve to do is to just click an hyperlink to tweet it (eg. Like). These are the things you no longer need to explicitly tweet (assuming you’ve set up the integration and the feed into twitter).
  • Interesting Pages : Use the Friendfeed bookmarklet to mark the pages you like. They now find their way to twitter.
  • Bookmarked Pages : Friendfeed will pull your entries from delicious and push them into twitter.
  • Pages in your RSS feeds : Just share them on google reader and they will be soon tweeted to your friends.
  • Photos : Just post the photos to flickr and your followers on twitter will know
  • Interesting messages : Just click ‘Like’ against the same on Friendfeed. This is similar to retweeting
Come to think of it - isn’t it a reasonably large proportion of your tweets ? Notice the pattern ? You are doing your actions right at the source. You now no longer need to come to twitter, typing a message, adding a URL and then tweeting it - its all automatic.

Not all my twitter friends have an account on friendfeed

For starters you can have friendfeed scan your twitter friends to check if they are on friendfeed and you can start following them immediately. There are some who may not be on friendfeed. There’s a solution there too. Add that person as an imaginary friend, and against that imaginary friend set up his various streams (eg. twitter, blog, delicious etc.). You’re ready to go. Note having a friendfeed account helps all your other friends too since they do not need to create and maintain an imaginary account for you. If you are not on their must follow list, they just might choose not to spend that effort.

But the twitter web api / tweetdeck gives me a way to scan replies/references to me on twitter and create search streams

Fear not - that has a solution too. Run the search on twitter (for replies/references use ”@twitter_user_id” as the search string. You will see a RSS feed corresponding to that search. Now take that rss feed and plug it into another imaginary account as an RSS feed, and all the search results will now be visible on your home feed (or in the group feed wherever you’ve associated that imaginary user).

Other services

Well, as an example I cited your blog, delicious account, and google reader account as information sources. Friendfeed supports tons of them. So the integration into twitter can be extended to (amongst many other possibilities)
  • Tumbles into tumblr
  • Stumbles on StumbleUpon
  • Books you recommended on GoodReads or LibraryThing
  • Pages you dugg on digg
  • Posts you voted up on reddit
  • Any other status messages you posted to facebook or brightkite
  • Music on iLike or Last.fm
  • Comments on backtype, disqus or intensedebate
  • Videos you posted on vimeo or youtube
  • Presentations you posted to slideshare
  • Events you posted to Upcoming
  • Any other RSS feed you may want to send out to the twitterverse

Thats quite a bit. What else ?

You can click on the best of day / week / month to find entries made by your friends which were liked the most. And if you are into cyberstalking, you can really get a virtually realtime capability by creating an imaginary friend and then linking it to all the services you want to follow for him/her (I know I am being mean - but what the heck - friendfeed pulls in only the publicly available information)

I am now getting greedy. Sure there’s nothing more

Hmm .. you can create groups and subscribe to them along with many other friends. Any specific focused topics you are likely to get into that you don’t want to bother a large part of your followers with ? Don’t send the messages to your default feed - send them to the group. Now these will only get delivered to the friendfeed users subscribed to the group and your twitter followers can have a easier time because you don’t suddenly flood their twitstream with (in their perception) arcane / irrelevant stuff. And have you ever irritated your facebook friends by streaming your tweets into facebook just because you didn’t want to enter status updates twice ? Well now you can stream facebook into friendfeed into twitter. So if you want the update to be in both twitter and facebook, just enter it in facebook, and if you would like to see it in twitter alone of the two, enter it in either friendfeed or twitter. So get cracking - create a friendfeed account. If you are not too sure who to subscribe to, I’m a nice person to follow. On both twitter and friendfeed, I maintain two personas. d7y (twitter, friendfeed) is the personal and free wheeling side of me, while dnene (twitter, friendfeed) focuses on programming, software design and architecture aspects. See you on friendfeed and twitter simultaneously.

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