Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is FriendFeed?

@FriendFeed knows how to fix my social clutterFriendFeed  is a service for people to keep up-to-date on the stuff that their friends and family are sharing.  Friends can be colleagues, partners, even competitors.


The goal of FriendFeed is to make content on the Web more relevant and useful for you by using your existing social network as a tool for discovering interesting information. You can be an individual, business, organization, cult or whatever.


You get a customized feed made up of the content that your friends shared - from news articles to family photos to interesting links and videos. And your friends get their customized feeds, full of the cool stuff that you've shared.


Why I use FriendFeedFriendFeed is a feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking websites, social bookmarking websites, blogs and micro-blogging updates, as well as any other type of RSS/ Atom feed.  (from Wikipedia)

  1. Users can use this stream of information to create customized feeds to share (and comment) with friends.[1]

The founders are all former Google employees who were involved in the launch of such services as Gmail and Google Maps. They include Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris, Sanjeev Singh and Bret Taylor. Venture capital agency Benchmark Capital is involved with the investment funding.

    FriendFeed is based in Mountain View, California.

                • Bloggers writing about FriendFeed have said that this service addresses the shortcomings of social media services which exclusively facilitate tracking of their own members' social media activities on that particular social media service, whereas FriendFeed provides the facility to track these activities (such as posting on blogs, Twitter and Flickr) across a broad range of different social networks.[2] Some (but not all) bloggers are concerned about readers commenting on their posts inside FriendFeed instead of on their blogs, resulting in fewer page views for the blogger[3].

What is FriendFeed?

  • FriendFeed is a service for people to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that their friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends.

    The goal of FriendFeed is to make content on the Web more relevant and useful for you by using your existing social network as a tool for discovering interesting information. You get a customized feed made up of the content that your friends shared - from news articles to family photos to interesting links and videos. And your friends get their customized feeds, full of the cool stuff that you've shared.

Scoble's FriendFeedWhy should I use FriendFeed?

It's open: FriendFeed automatically imports shared stuff from sites across the web, making all the sites you already use a little more social.

It's flexible: FriendFeed requires as much effort as you want to put in. You can use it just as a way to see what your friends are up to - browsing and reading the stuff they share, or you can actively share your own items and leave comments and have discussions with your friends. There are also lots of ways to access and display your FriendFeed.

And it's easy to get started: There's nothing to install, and you can share stuff on your feed as soon as you sign up. Light-weight conversations naturally sprout up around shared items and you can even get introduced to interesting news from friends of your friends.

FriendFeed ServicesHow does FriendFeed work?

FriendFeed aggregates all of your activity from the sites you choose using web crawling technologies similar to those used by search engines. For most sites, all you need to provide FriendFeed is your username, and the FriendFeed crawler will automatically find and broadcast all of your public activity on that site. For other sites, or for services that contain private data and require special forms of authentication, FriendFeed takes advantage of the APIs provided by those sites to collect your activity.

By using an automated, crawl-based approach to finding the content you find interesting, our hope is that your FriendFeed experience will be completely "maintenance free" - you can help your friends and family discover what you're sharing without changing the way you already use your favorite web-based products.

Does FriendFeed have a blog?

Yep, our blog is at http://blog.friendfeed.com/. Another thing you may want to check out is our FriendFeed News room, where we post the latest updates, blogs and news stories about FriendFeed.

Does FriendFeed have an API?

Yes, we do. Our API enables you to do things such as develop a FriendFeed interface for a mobile phone, build a FriendFeed widget for your blog, or develop an application that makes it easy to post photos to your feed from your iPhone. Learn more.

Are you a publicly-traded company? Are you accepting investment?

FriendFeed is a private company and we are not looking for additional financial investment at this time.

What advertising opportunities are available on FriendFeed?

We're currently concentrating on improving our site and service, and are not focused right now on advertising.

We'd like to work with FriendFeed on a business development opportunity.

Cool. Send us an email at bizdev@friendfeed.com. We're looking forward to reviewing the opportunity!

Are you hiring?

We're definitely hiring! Check out our jobs page. You may also want to learn more about the rest of the FriendFeed team, so you know what you're getting yourself into!

I love the icons you're using, can I use them on my site?

We're glad you like them! They are "Silk" by FAMFAMFAM.

How can I sign up for FriendFeed?

Signing up is easy and free. Create an account here.

What web sites does FriendFeed support?

FriendFeed currently supports:

We are constantly adding new sites. Help us prioritize by suggesting a site.

How do I add a service to my FriendFeed?

FriendFeed can automatically aggregate your activity from over 40 services. To do so:

  1. Click on the "Me" link on the left side of the page
  2. Click "Edit/add services" tab
  3. Pick a service or expand the list to see all the services that FriendFeed supports
  4. Clicking on any service will bring up the specific requirements FriendFeed needs (e.g., username, email address) in order to import your stuff from that service

Your stuff should show up in your FriendFeed almost immediately. If the service you want to add is not one of the ones we currently support, you can still add it as a "Blog", as long as it has a per-user RSS or Atom feed.

Friendfeed Comments To Disqus
Can I choose who sees my feed? Where else will my feed show up?

You have complete control over who sees your feed. Your FriendFeed is either public or private, and you can change your preferences in your Account page. If your FriendFeed is private, you approve every subscription request for your feed, and your stuff will not be visible to anyone other than your approved friends. If you choose to make your FriendFeed public, anyone can subscribe to you without requiring approval, and your stuff will show up on the FriendFeed homepage.

What are rooms?

A room is like a mini FriendFeed for a particular subject or group of people. Everyone in your room can share stuff with each other and leave comments that only other people in your room can see. When creating a room, you decide whether to make it public, where anyone can join, or private, where you have to invite or approve each member. You can even have a room with a view by selecting "Show this room's content in my feed" -- this lets you view everything from your rooms in your feed as well, instead of just in the rooms themselves.

You can access all the rooms you're a member or owner of by clicking on the "rooms" tab. FriendFeed also displays your room memberships along with your friend subscriptions. There's no limit to the number of rooms you can join or create. As a room owner, you can manage the room's settings and membership, and invite new people to your room, even if they're not FriendFeed users yet. And when you use the FriendFeed bookmarklet to share anything from the web, you can also specify whether to share it on your feed, or just in a particular room.

Can I keep up-to-date on friends who don't use FriendFeed?

Yes, you can use our "imaginary friends" feature to see what your friends are sharing on some services, even if they aren't FriendFeed users themselves. For example, if you know your friend's Flickr username, you can create an imaginary friend with that Flickr account, and every time your friend publishes a photo to a public album, you'll see it as an entry in your feed.

You can only use FriendFeed's imaginary friends feature to see the public information your friends share.

Does FriendFeed work with Facebook?

Yes, FriendFeed works with Facebook. You can connect your Facebook account to your FriendFeed account by adding the FriendFeed Facebook application. Your friends will automatically be kept in sync, and you can put your FriendFeed on your profile and in your Facebook mini-feed.

How else can I access FriendFeed?

You can view your FriendFeed in your iGoogle homepage or read it in a feed reader. Our Atom feed contains all comments, likes, and thumbnails, as well as detailed Media RSS tags so you can get as good of a FriendFeed experience in your feed reader as you do on the FriendFeed site. You can even get your entire FriendFeed - comments and all - delivered to your inbox. If your feed is public, you can also use our blog widget to embed your FriendFeed in your homepage or blog.

What's the best way to report a bug or send feedback to FriendFeed?

If you're experiencing an issue or want to let us know about something that you'd like to see on FriendFeed, try the FriendFeed Feedback room. You can search to see if others have experienced the same thing, or share your thoughts with us and other FriendFeed users.

If your issue involves personal information, or you don't feel comfortable publishing your message in the room, contact us using our bugs form. If there's a service that you'd like to see supported in FriendFeed, let us know.

Finally, if you have any questions about our API, you can discuss them with us and other FriendFeed developers in the FriendFeed API developer forum.

I have a suggestion for a site to add to FriendFeed.

Great! Let us know using our suggestion form. We are always reviewing new sites to add, and we tend to add them in batches. However, we do require a site to have per-user RSS or Atom feeds in order for us to support it. If it does, you can always add it as a "Blog".

Can I add any RSS feed to FriendFeed?

Yes, you can add any RSS feed to your FriendFeed by adding it as a "Blog".

  1. Click on the "Me" link on the left side of the page
  2. Click "Edit/add services" tab
  3. Click "Blog" link under "Blogging"
  4. Enter the blog or feed URL

Items from that feed will show up in your FriendFeed as "You posted an entry on a blog". We're working on enabling more customization, such as for the icon.

Can I get email updates of my FriendFeed?

Yes. On your Account page, you have several email options. You can ask to be notified via email if there is activity on your feed and you haven't logged in for a while. You can even get your entire FriendFeed emailed to you, either daily or weekly.

How do I embed my FriendFeed into my blog?

If your feed is public, you can use our blog widget to embed your FriendFeed in your homepage or blog.

Is there a way that I can click on an entry or link and have it open in a new tab or window?

There is a checkbox for this preference on your Account page.

How do I delete some of my entries?

If you just want to delete one of your entries, click the "More" link beneath that specific entry and select the "Delete this entry" option.

To remove an entire service:

  1. On either your Account page or the "Me" tab of your FriendFeed, click on the "Edit/add" link that follows your list of services
  2. Select the service you want to delete from the list of "Your shared sites"
  3. Click the "Remove account" button

Removing a service does not automatically delete the items from that service that have already been imported into your FriendFeed. To remove all the items from that service, make sure to check the "Also delete imported entries" box before you confirm the account removal.

How can I turn off the "Friend of friend" entries?
  1. Find a friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) entry on your FriendFeed
  2. Click on the "Hide" link
  3. Once the entry has been hidden, there will be a link to "See options for hiding entries like this"
  4. Click this link and you will be presented with a few options, one of which is to hide all FOAF entries. You can even select the check box below this option to keep hiding FOAF entries "even if they have comments or likes".

If you only want to hide the FOAF entries from some of your friends, just make sure to follow the above steps on one of those friends' entries.

How do I hide some items?

You can hide any item in FriendFeed by clicking on the "Hide" link beneath that entry. Once an entry has been hidden, there will be a link to "See options for hiding entries like this". Click this link and you will be presented with additional hiding options, depending on the type of item you wanted to hide. You can view your hidden entries by scrolling to the bottom of your FriendFeed and clicking the "Show hidden entries" link.

To get a better understanding of the Hide options on FriendFeed, you can also check out our short tutorial video.

Can I block a user?

You can block a user by visiting their feed and clicking the "Block" link. After you block another user, you won't see any of their posts or comments on FriendFeed, and they won't see any of your posts. However, they will still be able to see comments that you make on other people's posts and, if your feed is public, they could still read it if they are logged out.

To unblock someone you've already blocked, visit their feed and click on the "Unblock" link. After unblocking a user, you will again be able to view each other's posts and comments, including posts and comments made in the past.

What are friend lists?

Friend lists enable you to organize your friends into groups. With friend lists, you can get updates from your family separately from your coworkers, or you can follow an acquaintance in a list without having their shared stuff take up space in your home feed.

Create a friend list with the "New list" link on the right hand side of your home feed.

How do add or remove people from friend lists?

You can add or remove people from friend list by visiting the friend list page. Click "Add/remove friends" at the top of the page.

How do I add rooms to friend lists?

To add a room to a friend lists, visit the room, and click the "add/edit" link next to the "Friend lists" label at the top of the page.

How do I customize which rooms show up on the right hand side of the page?

To customize which rooms show up at the top of the list, click the "prefs" link at the bottom of the list. The rooms you check will always appear at the top of the list. The remaining rooms will be sorted by recent activity.

Can others see my imaginary friends?

Nope, your real contacts can't see who your imaginary friends are, or what they're posting.

Can I search for rooms?

Unfortunately, there is currently no search function for rooms. But we're working on it!

How do I delete a room I've created?

Just go to the room that you no longer want and click the "Un-join" this room link.

How do I delete my account?

Sorry to hear that you no longer want to use FriendFeed. You can delete your account here: http://friendfeed.com/account/delete

What are the <link> tags that the Bookmarklet supports?

The bookmarklet currently supports two <link> tags:

<link rel="image_src" href="http://example.com/test.jpg" />

The referenced image will appear as a thumbnail. The user can replace or remove it.

<link rel="video_src" href="http://example.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=0000000" />

The referenced video will appear as an inline player, if the video site is supported. Currently supported inline sites are:

We are working to add other sites, please contact us at bizdev@friendfeed.com if you would like your site to appear inline on FriendFeed.

How can I add a link on my site to share content to FriendFeed?

You can add a "Share on FriendFeed" link or use the FriendFeed API, or contact us at bizdev@friendfeed.com to discuss a more integrated experience.

How can I add my site to FriendFeed's list of supported services?

We periodically add new services based on user requests, traffic estimates, and technical difficulty. You can suggest your site to help us prioritize what sites we add in the future.

Until it's added, per-user RSS feeds can be added as generic blogs, or items can be posted using the FriendFeed API.

How can I make photos and other media in my RSS feed show up on FriendFeed?

FriendFeed has limited support for importing Media RSS images. Please make sure the height and width of your media:thumbnails are set. If an appropriately sized image is present, it will be displayed.

Podcasts will appear on FriendFeed if an mp3 is referenced in either a media enclosure or a Media RSS element.

I got a red exclamation point while trying to do something.

Sorry, there was a problem on the server.

Some common causes are:

  • The entry you are commenting, liking, expanding, etc has been deleted

  • You have been logged out from another window

  • There is a problem with your connection

  • You have installed a Greasemonkey script or add-on that's causing problems

Please refresh and try again. If you continue to have problems, please submit a bug.

I can't sign in to FriendFeed using my email address.

FriendFeed requires you to verify the email address you used to sign up. Assuming the email you typed in during sign-up was correct, you can look for an email from FriendFeed asking to verify your email address (sometimes these messages accidentally end up in spam folders). You can click a verification link from that email message, and you should be able to sign in using that email from now on.

You can also always sign in using your FriendFeed nickname (if this user's FriendFeed URL were http://friendfeed.com/caitlinroran, her nickname would be "caitlinroran"). Once signed in, go to the "Account" page and follow the steps to verify your email address.

My posts from another service aren't showing up in my FriendFeed. What's wrong?

Sometimes, certain services are slow to update. In particular, del.icio.us bookmarks have taken awhile to update because our crawler is throttled by them due to our higher traffic. Other times, the service itself might be down.

Usually, the best thing to do is to manually update your feeds:

  1. Click on the "Me" link on the left side of the page

  2. Click "Edit/add services" tab

  3. Select the blog or service that's not updating from the list under "Your shared sites"

  4. Click the "Refresh feed" link

You can also try removing and re-adding a blog or service by clicking on "Remove account" and then following the steps for adding a service to FriendFeed.

I am having trouble adding a particular service. It keeps saying "We could not find the given account."

First, make sure you have activity in the service you're trying to add. Users will see that error message if they try to add an empty feed. You should also make sure to check your profile on that specific service, in case it's set to "private" or something similar.

If you're experiencing this problem with Amazon wishlists, you may want to double-check that the email address you're using is actually the one associated with your wishlist. Visit the Amazon Wishlist page and make sure your wishlist shows up when doing a search using that email address.

If you're experiencing this problem with Flickr, make sure that your Flickr privacy settings are not set to hide your photos from third party sites. If you need to change this setting:

  1. Click on "Your Account" from the "You" tab on the top of Flickr

  2. Click on the "Privacy & Permissions" tab

  3. Click on the "edit" link next to "Hide your profile from public searches"

  4. Make sure that the box next to "Hide your photostream from searches on 3rd party sites that use the API?" is unchecked

Sometimes, there are also duplicated names on Flickr due to the Yahoo integration, which means that your username may not be what shows up at the end of your photostream URL. Alternatively, you may want to try using your display name or the email address associated with your Flickr account.

The bookmarklet is not showing the list of rooms I'm subscribed to.

First, make sure you are signed into FriendFeed. If you see your name at the top of this page, you are. If not, go sign in and try again.

If you're signed in, you may have third party cookies disabled, which are necessary for the FriendFeed bookmarklet to retrieve your list of rooms. To enable them in Firefox:

  1. Click on "Preferences" in the "Edit" menu.

  2. Click on the "Privacy" tab

  3. Make sure "Accept third-party-cookies" is checked:

If the rooms continue to not show up, you may wish to try signing out or deleting your cookies, and then logging back in.

The Act of the FriendFeed

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