FriendFeed = More Hyped Yawn

March 15, 2008

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 (, 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.

56 responses to FriendFeed = More Hyped Yawn

  1. Wow… You’re pretty mature blowing up at some guy who didn’t really even insult you. He may not truly be an “A-list blogger” but at least he’s not retorting with such a condescending post. All he did was point out that you might have missed the point of the service and should attempt to be more open minded and yet you seem to have gone in the completely opposite direction.

  2. Duncan, I’ve defended you to peers when the lets-bash-Riley bandwagon heads in to town, but this situation leaves me floored.

    Louis is someone who I’ve spoke to once or twice, and has always seemed to me to be polite, constructive, and knowledgeable. Your response to his polite, constructive, and knowledgeable post is downright out of order in my opinion, and I really do think you need to read his post again, without guessing what is behind the lines.

    In fact, if I’m any judge of character, I’d take a guess that Louis is going to email you privately apologising for you getting the wrong end of the stick. Which, quite honestly, he has no obligation to do.

  3. Holy crap, Duncan – I think you overreacted a little bit there.

  4. At first I must say that I thought that you didn’t get the point of FriendFeed however after reading the last several paragraphs of your post I must agree with you that FriendFeed as a source of starting new conversations seems pretty dumb. That being said I do still like it for the ability to aggregate all of my online actions. On the other hand it did seem odd that you called him out for attacking you as a person and yet you did the same thing.

  5. No doubting your blogging credentials, but I think you broke a cardinal rule here- don’t post something with the chip still on your shoulder. Something to learn from, I suppose.

  6. jeez, this is taking inside baseball to an absurd degree. first off, who really gives a flying frog about any of this outside the small circle you describe as “a listers?” calcanis, arrington, scoble – should we really get palpitations each time one of these dudes post what they think? but what’s really odd is why you went ballistic in your response. i don’t get it.

  7. I used to read Louis Gray?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s blog before as I thought it was objective and covered various services well.

    Then he became completely obsessed with Friendfeed and every second word on his blog was Friendfeed. Quite frankly if I wanted to read so much about Friendfeed, I would read their own blog.

    After seeing him jump down another blogger throat for having his opinion on a service, I am removing his blog from the list of blogs I follow.

  8. Duncan, you are the first person on the web ever to string together the words “more hyped yawn”:

  9. My goodness, Duncan. I respect your opinions and I even sometimes enjoy seeing sites get a smackdown to balance out the occasional over-adulation.

    But you went way, WAAAAAAAY overboard. Whereas Louis had criticized your take on FF and your process for evaluating it, you basically slammed him as a person, and that’s really uncool. Of equal badness, your vulgar slams weren’t even entertaining, just cringeworthy.

    To quote from some overrused but still apt memes:
    – EPIC FAIL.
    – All Your Angry Base Are Belong To You.

  10. One Monkey’s Uncle March 16, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Yay! Truth to Power, FROM one of the Power! It’s been a laff riot watching the A-Listers get themselves all bogged down in the “social networking” swamp over the past year. Every week seems to bring some new, awesome addition to you arsenal of tools for talking about yourselves, as if anyone besides your clique of self-important wankers even gave a shit. NIce to see someone call them on their twaddle, especially one of their own! Duncan Riley, my new fave A-Lister! Got a FriendFeed I can subscribe to so I don’t miss any of the fun?!

  11. Duncan I wish you brought this fire and hilarity to your TechCrunch posts, this was a great read. The fact that there are so many “life stream” sites and services just shows that it’s a feature, not a real company. The life stream functionality we’ve had at 9rules for over a year now took about 2 days to write, and we aggregate songs, Twitter posts, your blog entries, posts, Flickr photos, and list them all chronologically. Definitely not complicated technically, and the barrier to enter this “space” is about 7cm high.

  12. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve been blogging a bloody long time and for a lot of that time I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve been reporting on the movers and shakers in blogging, and until a couple of months ago I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢d never heard of this guy.

    So? This is a huge defect in your assumptions about where good analysis comes from. IMHO best blogging *by far* no longer is coming from the early adopters and the elusively defined “A listers” It’s coming from those who entered blogging later, but generally are better writers and often better thinkers than old school folks. However your old school logic seems to suggest you should ignore people because you have not heard of them rather than because you have a beef with their ideas. This post is wildly ironic because he didn’t attack you – he gently attacked your views on Friendfeed. You, on the other hand …

  13. Joseph
    I’m not saying he should be ignored, I’m simply asking what his background is because even he doesn’t provide it on his blog. There’s zero transparency there, and it’s not me talking about him in these terms, it’s others. Go through the Friendfeed hype stream and see how many people referred to this guy as A-List…and as I said, he’s come out of no where, doesn’t have a huge readership, I’m just trying to work out what his angle and issue is.

    As for the other comments, he insulted me constantly throughout his post with his degrading put downs and condescending attitude. I originally wrote about Friendfeed, he made his response about me, everything from the headline down. But hey, he’s A-list now right, he can talk down to others and be all superior and no one is allowed to disagree, because that’s how the mob has been reacting lately.




  15. Duncan – posts like this is why I (and others) keep reading you after all these years.

    Fuck the A-Listers and their meme of the week – I don’t get the whole friendfeed hubbub.


  16. oh dear you said a naughty word
    oh dear you dissed an a-lister
    oh dear you had an opinion
    oh my will the sky fall?

  17. friendfeed is fail.

    interesting concept, but poorly executed. it fails to live up to what you would expect it to be from my reading.

    some might find it useful. but not this black duck.

    good call duncan.

  18. You crack me up Duncan. Why use a tactical airstrike when you have nukes…

  19. nice article! nice site. you're in my rss feed now 😉
    keep it up

  20. Interesting article..
    Thanks for sharing this one..
    I had a great time reading your post.

  21. No matter where you go or where you move to, some things are inevitable and unchangeable. We just have to accept the facts, embrace the change and live with it happily the best way we can.

  22. Now a days this web2.0 technology is growing rapidly this FriendFeed also comes in web2.0 technology. this will help to share information and create backlinks to their website.

  23. Very informative article about FriendFeed i really enjoyed your post. FriendFeed will really helps to share information as well as it helps in SEO for link building.


  24. dental_implants_Southampton July 10, 2009 at 3:31 am

    A very long article..FriendFeed is awesome

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