I Don't Recommend FriendFeed

The other day I recommended FriendFeed as an alternative to Mugshot for link sharing. Today I withdraw that recommendation.

It was clearly a mistake for me to recommend the service since I had never actually used it myself; I was only going off of the recommendations of others.

I was under the mistaken impression that it would offer the same features as the solution I’m using now (here on my blog), but it does not. It also suffers from some of the same issues that I complained about with Pownce and Mugshot.

In particular, here is my main gripe:
No ability to subscribe to a feed (or any other notification, as far as I can tell) of comments on previously posted items. This appears to include items posted directly in an individual’s feed as well as items posted in a “room”, etc.

Until this feature exists, FriendFeed is suffering from the same issues I have with Pownce – namely that it requires me to hit their site/app directly in order to check for updates in conversations. At least it’s a step ahead of Mugshot in that there are feeds for the initial items/links, but it’s still lacking the ability to track the follow-ups.

Also, while I do now have a FriendFeed account, I do not plan to add all my other stuff into it, for one simple reason (directly related to the above issue): you can’t follow the comment conversations. Therefore, I’d rather people not comment on my stuff there, since FriendFeed makes it difficult / inconvenient (for me and others) to follow. I would much rather do that here on my blog, where comment subscriptions are available on both a site wide or individual item basis. This is exactly what I want, and FriendFeed does not offer it.

Of course, I may have missed something. Anyone out there who knows otherwise, please let me know by commenting here.

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4 Responses to I Don't Recommend FriendFeed

  1. Dan Cameron says:

    Point one: True comment RSS feed. This does suck, a lot, but a Yahoo! Pipe or some other code can fix that with or without the ff API.

    Point two: Since you’re pulling all of the services that you would aggregate on ff it shouldn’t matter if you used a plugin like this, http://blog.slaven.net.au/wordpress-plugins/friendfeed-comments-wordpress-plugin/
    Because all the comments over there (on ff) would then be pulled into your blog.

  2. JB says:

    (On #1) Yeah, but I just don’t think it should be that difficult. I’ll work it out for myself, but most people aren’t going to be willing and able to put in that kind of effort.

    (On #2) Thanks for that link. Phase 2 of my plan for what I’m doing now on this blog (pulling in all those other things) has always included pulling in comments from those other sources as well. I probably won’t use that actual plugin, but it might come in handy as a reference when updating my code, if I ever get around to doing that part.

  3. Dan Cameron says:

    #1: IMO it looks like it’s Google Reader’s fault for not telling me that the feed was updated (with new comments), probably just a feature they need to add to the UI but if you go back to the items the new comments are displayed. So the feed’s being updated the UI just can’t tell you.
    What I’ll probably do is go back and check the recent marked read posts and see if there are any new comments until Google Reader fixes how they handle updated feeds (so I know they’ve been updated).

    (Told you this yesterday but) most RSS clients have a feature that unmarks a read item if it’s been updated, GR should do the same.

  4. JB says:

    If Google Reader did allow that, I guess it would be a decent *workaround* to the existing *problem*, although hopefully it would be a setting you could set on a per feed basis, since I definitely wouldn’t want that behavior for most feeds.

    The problem is that FriendFeed doesn’t have a true comments feed. Stuffing them into the feed of the original item is interesting but not an adequate substitute.

    This is not a difficult problem to understand or provide a solution for, so I’m thinking that they are probably well aware of the idea, and have chosen to do things this way, in order to drive more real web traffic to their actual site.

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