Last week I posted about information overload and how we were being constantly bombed with content bits from all corners of the web (like Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, whatever else). Also last week, a lot of people started using (and blogging about) Friendfeed. Some people actually call it this year’s Twitter.
I’ve been using Friendfeed a bit myself and while I find it cute and somewhat useful – as you probably do, I like to know what my friends have been doing or working on -, it just isn’t helping. It’s became just another content stream where I am fed unfiltered information from people. Twitter was “hard” enough to keep track of on a busy day, but Friendfeed not only includes twitter updates, it also packs info collected from around 23 other services. Cute? Definitely. Helping? Heck no.
A couple of ideas
Filtering: Friendfeed needs filtering. If I already have Twitteriffic on, It makes sense to be able to filter out all Twitter bits from my friendfeed. If I’m in the mood for checking out photos from friends, I may want to see only photos on my friendfeed. If I’m looking for what my friends have been listening to on Last.fm, I might want to see only that.
Search, domain clustering: Why can’t I search for words in my friend feed? A term extraction algorithm + search could become a pretty good tool to know what the people I care about have been saying about, that’s say, “design”, “user experience” or “development” related. Now that would be useful.
Here’s the cold hard fact: I’m going to pay little attention to a service that only delivers more stuff. A few years ago, in order to get updates on people you cared about, you’d call, visit or email. Now you hear about them all day every day. Now that’s obviously not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong – it’s just that sometimes, it’s a little too much information.
We need these tools (Twitter, Friendfeed) – and tell me where to sign up if you’re building a product like this – to help us make sense of the data coming in by mining it, filtering it and giving it to us in a way we can consume it. I still want the ability to see and hear everything should I be inclined to, but I need (we need!), to control this flood of information we’re living with every day.
Update: Well (wow, rather!), that didn’t take long. About 24 hours after I posted this, Friendfeed announced search. The difference a simple feature like this makes is astounding.
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