Behavioral Changes and Hidden Treasures: More on Using FriendFeed

FriendFeed is one of those services that really makes me think as I’m using it. There’s so much there and so little there, depending on how you look at it. It basically sets up lifestreams—yet can totally replace the way you consume online content. It can encourage information overload—unless you utilize the immensely powerful filtering options. There’s yet another backchannel to monitor (via FriendFeed’s own commenting system)—but perhaps that’s a good thing? There’s a lot to like about FriendFeed—but also a lot to learn.

What I wanted to focus on today is how FriendFeed is exposing me to valuable content I would have missed before and how it changes they way I use some of my social media services.

Unearthing Valuable Content

I’ve been a del.icio.us user for quite a while. It wasn’t until very recently that I learned they have a contacts feature. Well, they call it “your network”, and really don’t do the best job of exposing/explaining the feature.

Why is having contacts on a social bookmarking site important? Well, that’s what makes it social. When a contact of yours values a web page enough to save it for future reference, that’s a huge vote of confidence. I want to see those links.

My friend Jeremy Harrington uses a ma.gnolia plug-in to post summaries of his bookmarks to his blog. I have always found some good ones in there. But I never took the time to look up which of my contacts were on what social bookmarking sites.

With FriendFeed, when you subscribe to a person, you subscribe to all of their services. So, when I subscribed to Joshua Porter, for example, I got access to his del.icio.us feed for the first time. He bookmarks some seriously great stuff. Without FriendFeed, I probably never would have made this connection.

Changing My Usage

Now that I am able to easily see what people bookmark, I am consciously aware that other people will see what pages I bookmark on del.icio.us, too. And beyond that, whenever I favorite a photo or video on Flickr or YouTube (not just post), it will show up in my FriendFeed stream. So, if you have a FriendFeed account, think about these things before you save interesting job listings on del.icio.us, favorite photos of that social media crush on Flickr, or save videos of dancing kitty cats on YouTube.

Have you made any interesting observations while using FriendFeed?

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