Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Twitter vs. Friendfeed

If any of you are following me on Twitter or Friendfeed, you will have seen my multiple comments, posts, arguments, rants maybe, about the fact that Friendfeed, is not, isn't planning on being, and won't be a viable replacement for, Twitter. Well, most of those arguments are very true. I'll relay them to you right here.

Friendfeed =/= Twitter

Just incase you didn't catch on at first, the '=/=' means 'does not equal'. One of the big mistakes a lot of people are making is that they think Friendfeed is a viable replacement for Twitter, when in whole Friendfeed is a very different service. Twitter is a status updating website that allows you to both put updates as to what you are currently doing, and you can start a conversation with anyone account in Twitter simply by putting @username in one of your tweets. Friendfeed however is a medium for getting content, and it sits alongside a commenting system. Friendfeed takes content from sites and makes a single feed out of it, that friends can then comment/'like'.

Friendfeed is not the 'New' Twitter

One of the big reasons that people switch over is that they think that Friendfeed is a viable replacement for Twitter. Yes it has API integration with Twhirl making it able to have for the most part the same interface, and yes, you can put out messages of what you are doing by simply using the 'Share' form. But there are a number of things that Friendfeed doesn't have. The first and more obvious one is right not it doesn't have SMS. Really, that is a small problem because it will probably be put into an update soon enough, if FF developers can find a good format of what to put into the SMS Messages. Honestly, if Friendfeed is based around links, which it is, there isn't really a reason to receive SMS messages from Friendfeed because it would require you to visit a webpage as well.

Thats problem one, the second problem is as I mentioned above, there is no @reply feature. This is a bigger problem because if FriendFeed continues down the line of being a sharing site, there is really no need to implement a @reply feature. That really creates a problem, because there isn't a way to on Friendfeed, direct a message to someone. There is no private messages either, which might be more foreseeable in the future.

Friendfeed relies on Twitter to work.

As Louis Gray pointed out, think of Friendfeed as a pizza. The pizza is there to deliver it and the toppings to your mouth. All of the different websites Friendfeed uses to make itself useful are toppings. The pizza doesn't work well without them. Friendfeed relies more on people using Twitter than it relies on people using Friendfeed, because unless you decide to use the 'Share' link for all of your content, the only way it can retrieve items for people to comment and 'like' is if you allow it access to the 3rd party applications that you use.

Now, not everyone necessarily agrees on toppings. I might use twitter, you might use brightkite. The important part is that you use something to create content and get it onto Friendfeed. That way we can comment/link/'like'/share/etc.

Whatever you use, use it!

I am not trying to become a complete advocate for using Twitter. The fact is that it does have its problems. This giant rant is just specifically pointed to the fact that Twitter =/= Friendfeed. But, whatever you use, whether it be Brightkite, Tumblr, or even Google Talk Status Updates (lol). Make sure that you use it a lot, and keep creating content.

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