How To Use FriendFeed To Disrupt Twitter’s Noise

During a discussion that I had with Brian Solis and Shashi Bellamkonda earlier this month, an interesting topic came up that led to me to write this post. One thing that has become apparent on Twitter is that there is way too much noise. How can people break through the clutter and get their voices heard. It’s almost like being at a rock concert or in a crowded bar where you have dozens of conversations going on at the same time making it nearly impossible to hear what people are saying.

You might also be familiar with FriendFeed and its feature to allow for threaded conversation and somewhat more controlled environment. It’s a toss up between which is better: Twitter or FriendFeed. Also, it’s more of a debate whether they can survive together. However, in some parts I’d say that they can and one is better than the other in certain respects.

Say you want to have a conversation with someone or multiple people and so you tweet out a question and then you have multiple people responding. Not only does it generate more noise that people who are following you may find uninteresting, but there’s not really a way for you to control it. Sure, you can have a hashtag inserter into your tweets, but how would you be able to reference it back later on?

One solution would be to create a threaded conversation on your FriendFeed page. During my chat with Brian Solis, a question that came up was that since there was a lot of noise going on with Twitter, what would be the best way to live-tweet an event? His response? To use FriendFeed. And it makes sense. If you’re going to engage in repeated dialogue about the same subject that might be useful for other people, then I’d suggest starting the conversation first on FriendFeed and have it feed to Twitter so that your Twitter timeline will have the link for the FriendFeed conversation. 

With respect to live-tweeting, it makes perfect sense to use FriendFeed over Twitter. When you happen to be examining a particular event, you can start the initial “tweet” on FriendFeed as a topic introduction. Then your subsequent “tweets” will be your comments to your topic. That will give people a way to interject their thoughts and help commence a conversation that you can monitor from your laptop or phone to make it more informative. This will also spare your followers on Twitter from having non-interesting tweets flood their timeline making thereby reducing the amount of noise.

Some helpful tips on when to use Twitter versus FriendFeed that I could think about include:

  1. When your initial tweet will result in repeated back-and-forths with people, perhaps it is relevant to take the conversation to FriendFeed.
  2. If your conversation has an impact on a more global scale (e.g. Twitter’s @reply issue or maintenance, etc.), then you could consider it a Twitter conversation.
  3. When you’re thinking about tracking conversations and don’t want to look at multiple tweets of multiple people, then you should use FriendFeed.
  4. Using FriendFeed to tweet is not a bad thing – but the applications that allow you to Tweet also do not allow you to post via FriendFeed (yet).

So next time you’re going to engage in multiple tweet conversations about a single topic, please be sure to remember that FriendFeed is useful for at least one thing and you should exploit it until Twitter allows us to capture this thread without resorting to a hashtag.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."