I was lucky enough to be invited recently to FriendFeed, a service currently in private beta that lets users combine their activity from services — Digg, Google Reader, Twitter, Flickr, Last.fm to name a few — and mash it together in one feed. What’s more, users can then share this feed with friends and find friends through FriendFeed and subscribe to their feeds.
I went ahead and added my tumblelog, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Last.fm, and Delicious feeds, and here is what FriendFeed made for me (web-based embed version). Neat. In today’s day where every social network is trying to get you to exclusively use their service, and with the growing ubiquity of tens of them out there, a service like FriendFeed is very useful and to keep a tap on people’s lives.
And apart from being just a social network and feed aggregator/gatherer, FriendFeed in itself can be used a standalone service. A la Tumblr and Pownce, users can share text or a link in their FriendFeed. Speaking of which, users may call out the service that is fairly close to Tumblr — the main features being the same: gather all feeds, mash together + any of your own original text/links, and subscribe to friends’/view all on a single page. A key difference to note, however, is that instead of offering an experience around blogging and getting your content out to the world, FriendFeed focuses on opening your content and mainly around the social aspect of keeping in tap with others’ lives.
When Facebook introduced the News Feed feature a year ago, they went through a huge backlash. Since then, it’s amazing how useful the feature has turned out to be and how many have since deployed it. The basic idea behind the concept, of course, is close to that of RSS — instead of you looking for the content you might be interested in knowing, the content comes to you. FriendFeed follows this closely, and for any early adopter who is into Twitter/Tumblr/Pownce and especially into RSS, I’d recommend you go give it a try.