So I started another bush fire, at least among the growing list of self important so-called A listers who would happily crucify anyone who dare question their favorite startup of the minute.
I say A-List somewhat lightly, because the guy who’s come after me is someone who’s called Louis Gray. I’ve been blogging a bloody long time and for a lot of that time I’ve been reporting on the movers and shakers in blogging, and until a couple of months ago I’d never heard of this guy. His about page is as useful as tits on a bull: he does PR for a Silicon Valley technology company and found blogging in 2006. He’s talked about now at the same level as Calacanis, Scoble and Arrington, and yet he’s reached the lofty heights of 735 subscribers in Feedburner; probably more than this humble blog but this isn’t my main outlet.
So this Louis Gray decides that rather than attack my ideas, he needs to take me down a peg like some pious, self important c*nt.
Duncan Riley checked in with a quasi-analytic comment this morning
Notice the put down with “quasi-analytic,” lets not fight on ideas, lets denigrate the messenger.
And to put it bluntly, he missed the entire point. TechCrunch is right a lot of the time, but not today. FriendFeed is not the exact same thing as any service out there, and there’s no way that Duncan could have given the service its full due in his limited exposure to it.
That’s right, I forgot, I’m a complete retard who is completely unable to come to any conclusion unless I’ve used a service for as long as Gray has. Wanker.
Now lets get into the service: FriendFeed apparently slices, dices and cleans your kitchen:
FriendFeed has been described by different folks as a social Web lifestream, by others a Web services aggregator, or as a conversational platform. But it’s not just one of these things – it’s all of these things. There are a definitely a wide number of sites out there that let you share all your activity in one place, or to track friends’ activity, but FriendFeed is the only one that lets you share items directly to the feed, elevate discussions through comments and show “likes” to highlight individual posts.
OK, for starters a social web lifestream and web services aggregator are essentially the same thing; I think Gray says both of them for padding. “A Conversational Platform” is the key point here, because this is what Gray sees as the amazing thing about it.
Here’s where it gets completely bizarre:
Like Twitter, FriendFeed enables users to sift from the best of the blogosphere to find their friends and peers. No two individuals’ FriendFeed is exactly alike. And while I once questioned why anybody who wasn’t a Web services junkie and RSS maven would join, I’ve seen users who want to be consumers of information instead of producers of information enjoy the service, solely for communicating with friends. And while the term “friend” can vary from service to service, FriendFeed has got the formula right. I can see quickly who likes the same items I do, who contributes to FriendFeed conversations that I do, and if in need of new friends, I can use FriendFeed’s recommendation engine to suggest people my friends find interesting.
Note that in my original post I said that Twitter made up nearly half of the content in my friend feed, and yet Gray argues that FriendFeed is a tool for communicating with friends. Isn’t Twitter a tool for communicating with friends? why do I need separate tool exactly to communicate with friends about communications I’ve had, probably with those same friends on Twitter? Gray doesn’t answer the point, because there’s zero explanation.
Lets take the next source: blogs. Again, Gray talks about conversations, but we’ve seen all sorts of attempts at third party external commenting before. I can’t name the various browser plugins over the years that promised to allow visitors to chat or comment on a page. Then there was coComment and a number of clones that wanted to provided centralized comment tracking, enabling a conversation across pages and independent of the site. coComment reinvented itself into something primarily different because the idea = FAIL. So now we have a fancy RSS feed with comments. Note that the comments follow from a headline link, no content. [insert drag queen here] oh but you can have a conversation darling [/drag queen], and this appears to be the part Gray thinks I’ve missed because I haven’t participated. Here’s the thing Loiuse, if I want to participate in a conversation about a blog post or similar content, I’ll leave a comment on that blog, not a third party app, because if someone writes something worthy of conversation, they should have first call on the conversation, unless of course the topic is one that requires a blog post in itself.
Now lets get back to Mr Condescending:
Looking at Duncan’s stream on FriendFeed (http://friendfeed.com/duncanriley), I can see he imported his service and added friends, but he didn’t participate. He didn’t comment on other items. He didn’t respond to others’ comments. He didn’t “Like” anything. He took a very passive approach and it’s the interactivity of FriendFeed that sets the service apart.
Correct, I didn’t “like” anything because when I want to comment on an item, I’ll do it at the source, like the vast majority of people would. If it’s a Tweet I’ll reply on Twitter. If it’s a blog post, I’ll leave a comment. Why the fuck would I want to use a third party service? Why the fuck would I want to comment on a Tweet on FriendFeed? Or is it that I should just because he says so? Pass the bong…
He then continues to quote a couple of his mates then finishes by saying “Maybe Duncan will listen to this one.” Yep, I listened to this buzzword laden, failed to answer any of my key points and decided instead to denigrate me instead take down and personally I think it just makes him sound like a self important pious twat, but hey that’s just me. On the point of FriendFeed, the readers of TechCrunch voted very clearly, only 20% of people like FriendFeed. But hey, those people must be idiots as well, hey Loius, because you know best. FriendFeed is a decent enough service, but it’s not the second coming of christ no matter how much Gray pitches it. FriendFeed = More Hyped Yawn.