After doing an extensive analysis of recommendation engines when I met the folks from Aggregate Knowledge, MacManus from Readwriteweb picked up my post to write a guide on recommending systems. Through its editorial partnership with the New York Times, my name, blog and thoughts landed on the New York Times.
Recently, I purchased a mobile device that pushed me to considering IM as my main hookup to most of my social networks. The easiest way was to generate a social stream through Friendfeed, via their IM feature and imaginary friend feature.
Most importantly, I am now using Friendfeed to tweet. It requires a little more tools than just the Friendfeed IM feature, but overall it is just more convenient to post on a platform that links to all the other ones, including Twitter. I know I am late in the Twitter vs Friendfeed discussion here, but still, I am starting to realize how Friendfeed is eating up on Twitter’s grounds.
I think Twitter has failed to provide in-house tools to help users tweet. On Friendfeed, there is the tools page, with the bookmarklet, the Mail2FF, the widgets, the post to twitter, IM notifications, feed reader, facebook app, the iGoogle app, the iPhone app… Thanks to those tools, connecting to your social stream became a breeze.
For a long time, Twitter was just offering a profile widget. Today, they successfully grew a very productive developers’ community, which provides more tools to easily connect to one-another on Twitter. I personally think that, alas, their applications’ development outsourcing strategy shattered their service’s consistency. I know too many people who have a Twitter account, but never really understood what to do with it. There are 50 desktop clients for Twitter out there. Same goes for iPhone apps, discovery tools, contact management tools, communications tools… Tracking apps through tech blogs is just too nerdy and time-consuming.
What saves Twitter is its search feature. It turns Twitter into an avant-guarde live Web platform that makes marketers go nuts! But the steam is fading away, and despite its originality, the question remains: What am I supposed to do on Twitter? A 140 characters is quite short, it forces me to thought-process a tweet before making it public (seriously). My friends’ stream is a hubbub. Twitter doesn’t seamlessly embrace my day-to-day habits.
Freedfiend offers me all the tools I need to customize my networks, and the social stream that outputs through my IM provider. I can even reply from my IM, post a note, like or comment an item, and of course pause and resume the stream to go at my own pace.
Now let’s take a step back: Live Web search engines are hot these days: IceRocket launched its live multimedia search feature a few days back, and Twingly launched a live microblogs search feature yesterday. Friendfeed already has a built-in search engine, and a rss file is available for any search query.
Almost everything that goes on Twitter goes on Friendfeed too. And where Twitter is clutter, fuzziness and noise pollution, Friendfeed is clear and accessible. So my question is fairly simple: Since Friendfeed became the hub for all social networks, has Twitter become yet another social network?
Update: Friendfeed just launched the Twitter-to-Friendfeed feature to subscribe on Friendfeed to all of your Twitter friends.