A Simple Guide to FriendFeed (It’s a Magic Book)

FriendFeed is a kind of magic. It’s certainly a wonder to behold and when you begin to understand what it does, it’s wonder ten-fold.

ff-002 Hi! My name is Stu of Maaateland, and I’m hear to teach you something special.

I’m a travelling minstrel, a wandering troubadour, singing and dancing from place to place. And I’ve got a backpack full of magical items.

The first item is a magic book.

"Very funny," I hear you say. "Everybody knows magic books aren’t real."

That’s true, except for this one. Trust me.


Every single time I open the book the words inside have changed. It doesn’t matter if I turn to the first page or the fifty-first page.

Not only that, but the words are done by different pens, written by different authors. Can you imagine that?

What if I read something really funny and want to mark it with my own special stamp?

The second item is a magic stamp.

Every time I find some words that make me laugh, or think, or even sometimes get grumpy, I use this stamp. ff-003

The stamp never runs out! It never gets old or tired or broken.

The stamp has my mark on it. My image. Me. To the rest of the world, the stamp signifies me.

So I use it. I stamp words so that other people can see that I like the words.

"How can other people see your stamp? It’s your magic book!"

That’s very true, it is my book. But remember, it’s magic. There’s other people with this very same magic book. They all came out of the same publishing house, bound with the same beautiful green leather, gilded with silver and gold enamel.

"But," I hear you interrupt. "Is that all you can do? Stamp your approval on some words in this book?"

No. That’s not all.

The third item is a magic pen.

ff-004 I use the magic pen to do lots of different things.

When I find words that make me ponder, I take the pen and start writing underneath those words.

The magic pen then adds my own words at the end of the other words! How about that!

The magic pen allows me to have conversations with people through what I read and write in the magic book! Amazing!

But that’s not all.

The magic pen allows me to write my own words.

ff-005 For example, yesterday a bear chased me up a big oak tree. It took me three hours to sing it to sleep. I might like to write that in my magic book.

Sometimes other people who are reading the magic book, they take out their own magic pens and write something about my words. It might be, "Wow! You sang a bear to sleep!" Or it could be, "That’s nothing. Once I wrestled two wolves and three bears all at once. Plus, I’m awesome." Sometimes even, people will ask for more details, "Tell us how you came down out of the tree without waking the bear!"

And there you have it my friends. With this magic book, you can write any story you want. You can help write other stories. You can make conversation with people on the other side of the world!

Now though, I’m afraid, it’s time to close the book.

Some people, they only read the book a few minutes a day, or even a week. But some other people, they read the book all the time, even when they’re walking along the road!

"But won’t they fall over things as they walk?" You ask.

Very true, but some people don’t care.

"How can you walk and read at the same time?"

That my faithful audience, is a story for another time.

And there you have it. A Simple Guide To FriendFeed.

It’s not a perfect analogy. There’s nothing about how the process of making people your friends.

I came up with so many different analogies in the crafting of this post. The River. Fishing. Roads. Houses. A big funnel with water pouring through. Space. Boat racing.

So I started to doodle in gimp, just letting random images conjure up imagination. And something that looked like a book came into being. So I went with that.

The Value of Full Disclosure

disclosure-001Gary’s latest post about some new features on his blog reminded me of a simple blogging process that I completely forgot about. The value of disclosing what you are doing on your blog, even though it’s plain to see.

So I have made some changes to the sidebar.

You’ll now see my FriendFeed badge. It’s a listing of all the "streams" that I’ve added, and my Comments and Likes totals.

FriendFeed is a service I’d like to write some more about, at some time in the future. It’s basically a big river, and you can grab a shovel and add your own streams to it. Mostly in an effort to bring more rain so that your streams become rivers, tributaries, and maybe in turn help others to add their own.


Next up is my Google Reader Shared Items badge.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Google Reader is a service that monitors all your favourite blogs (and some other things) so that you can view them from one place. New posts are easily recognised, there’s a fantastic "Trends" sub-service, which shows you what you read most amongst other things, and you can easily Share. Hence the above badge.

Basically, it’s a list of the things I really found interesting, or liked, or just want to tell people about.


My Lijit search has been on here for a while, but I took some time to clean it up at the Lijit end. I’d put in bad data, and needed to organise my profile better. I think it’s working much better now.

Lijit gives you search across any of your services, and other people’s too, depending on how it’s set up. There’s more, but I haven’t really gotten there yet.


Finally, I’ve added IntenseDebate comments to the blog. I’ve had them on Clarion Folk for a while now, and the service is good. Thought it was time to move them across.

Concluding Conclusions

So, Full Disclosure.

There’s a lot of ways to spread yourself out on the web today. This is good and definitely bad.

The new changes are a reflection of the trends I’m following, the services I’m using. Hopefully one or more of them might help you out too.


How Important A Good Tool Is (for FriendFeed)

I’m going to scramble out on a limb like Toto the Monkey.

Robert Scoble has mentioned (in a good post by Louis Gray here) that he’s scared about people not understanding the many Social Services around today (please correct me if I’m wrong).

A good tool will solve this. FriendFeed (and the others) should invest in the creation of a Tool that will bridge the gap of their Service and the public awareness.

For me, the Tool that caused me to _get_ FriendFeed was twhirl. It allowed me to see what was happening, from a desktop app.


I think the web services need to examine more carefully the importance of a desktop app to bridge the gap between them and the world.

It doesn’t have to be a desktop app, but that’d be the first context I’d pursue.

Should the Social Web Services spend more time on a Tool to bridge the gap between them and the general public? And should they care?

Twhirl, Twitter, Friendfeed .. Can It Work Again?

I’m not referring to the Services themselves working, but to MY use of them.

My last journey into the world of Social Networking ended when Twitter stopped it’s jabber (and thus Gtalk) support for me. This kind of waned all other interests.


Now I’m using Twhirl, and it seems pretty cool. My biggest gripe so far is that CTRL-Backspace doesn’t do what I want it to :).


The Config windows are simple. Twhirl runs on Adobe Air, and looks .. "air-ee". It allows me to follow Twitter posts and FriendFeed conversations. Also has support for other Services. Considering it’s now owned by Seesmic, it supports them too.

So maybe it’s back in my bloodstream. In my routine. We’ll see.

Stu Talk #1 – Practical Community Identity

I don’t want my Presence aggregated. I want it globally available.

Establishing your Web Presence is a hard job. It’s made especially hard because most of the methods given to us today fragment our presence. If you have more than one email and one blog/site then you will be diluted.

Having a single Web Presence is a lofty goal. But I believe it’s doable. Even without the backing of major corporations, it can be done.

Watch the first episode of "Stu Talk" to hear my current thoughts on how we can attain Practical Community Identity!

Cheers to Viddler. It’s a very cool service.

And a thousand Kudos to Gary Vee (this post in particular) who sparked me onto this new medium. I’d not considered it before yesterday. Cheers!

Also, I’ve just the last 24 hours given FriendFeed the once over. I like it a lot. It looks like it solves one aspect of having a single Web Presence, being the aggregation of your Presence into one place.

However, that’s not what I’m on about in this message. I want more than aggregation. I don’t want my Presence aggregated. I want it globally available.


  • Why do you think having a single Web Presence is important? Or why is it _not_ important?