Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

A Friend in Need is a Friend Feed

I’ve been trying out a couple of what you would call social feed aggregators. Yeah, I know. Ugh. But what friendfeed.com and socialthing.com are trying to accomplish is just exactly that—getting all your information about friends on all your various social sites (think Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Shelfari, Blogger, etc). You want to keep up with all the news and activity from your friends on those sites; wouldn’t it be nice to do it in one place, right?

What’s strange is that these two sites have chosen very different methodologies for gathering all your friends into one place. Friendfeed.com, on the one hand, let’s you create a feed into which you import your accounts. I mess around on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Del.icio.us, and I have two blogs 1. So I pulled them all into one feed and voilá!—with merely one pretentious French word, I have my own personal feed. Nice.

Socialthing, on the other hand, let’s you put in all your account information for various sites and then updates your “lifestream” with all the activities and buzz of your friends on that site. Socialthing is still in beta right now, but if you’re really interested in getting me an account, ask nicely and I’ll give you one of my invitations.

The truth is, I like both sites. Friendfeed.com wins hand-down for being plugged into the most services. But I think Socialthing is right on their tale. Not that it matters. Really, Socialthing is for the online wallflowers and Friendfeed is for the attention junkies. Think of one as email and the other as broadcast. You can create a friendfeed and give it to anyone. That’s a nice thing for us social butterflies. Socialthing on the other hand is a little less loud. You have to log in to the site, and you don’t have to wait on your friends to figure out what “feeds” are before you can subscribe to their goings-on. I think for me, for the time being, both will serve a valuable service. And like a lot of social sites, it depends a lot on where your friends are on the I-have-my-own-blog-I-just-found-out-about-myspace scale.

  1. That was actually the mercifully short list. If you want to see all my online ridiculousness go here

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