The Twitter Versus FriendFeed Debate? No One Cares!


Writing on Tasty Blog Snack, Justin Ezarik comments on Michael Arrington's gloating over convincing half of his Twitter followers to follow him on FriendFeed. Justine also expresses a a long-held belief we've had around here at Adrants that most of this social media, web 2.0 crap is fleeting and mostly invisible to anyone outside the geek club.

Seriously. No one outside the insular geekfest gives a shit or ever will give a shit about Twitter or FriendFeed or which is better than the other. Or why they absolutely MUST use them. Apparently, the geek squad are an incestuous bunch and simply CAN NOT live without their shiny new toys. And that's OK. That's they we are. But they are a minority and always will be.

No matter how much Scoble or Rubel or that hot blonde chick that does funny videos (oh wait, that's Justine, herself) hype things like Twitter or FriendFeed, they will never reach the mainstream public. And that's a very good thing. Imagine if all the or @hotmail types decided to hop on Twitter. There wouldn't be bitching at outages. Everyone would be watching CNN cover the gigantic explosion that occurred in San Francisco's South Park after Twitter servers screamed, "Fuck it! We're outta here," and committed simultaneous suicide.

Ponder this. Why are Twitter and FriendFeed here in the first place? In Twitter's case, maybe Evan Williams was just bored and needed something to amuse himself with after Blogger and Odeo. And FriendFeed? Unclear. Apparently, the creators couldn't find enough stimulation in real life. The two services are capitalizing on the OMFG Social Media trendlet with, it seems, no plan at all for monetizing their operations. Exactly how long can that go on before investors say, "Fuck it! We're outta here," and start drooling over the next insanely great widget.

That said, Twitter can be a friend to some. Though the ability to connect to fellow geeks is, no doubt, rewarding in some respects, Twitter is just a fancy newsgroup or forum with big buttons and a few more bells are whistles for the mobile generation. FriendFeed, in comparison to Twitter, is like the experience that poor little girl in Dove's Onslaught commercial goes through getting incessantly pummeled by commercials for things she doesn't need or want.

And Michael Arrington's gloating? No shit, indeed. If Justine told her thousands of followers AOL was re-introducing its dial up, walled garden digital playground, there's no doubt half the shiny-new-object obsessed geek squad would hit eBay in search of modem.

How fickle. Second Life anyone?

by Steve Hall    Jul- 7-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Social, Trends and Culture   

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Interesting thought comparing Twitter to newsgroups and forums. I often think of Twitter more like IRC though. I guess in some way they're all very similar.

Posted by: David Vogelpohl on July 7, 2008 11:09 AM

Bravo! Someone actually speaking the truth about all this Web me2.0 garbage. The only thing I find more annoying than the continued touting of how these sites are going to "change the world" is the VC money that continues to flow into firms with no business models, no revenues, and no plans for profitability other than sticking some ads up and waiting for a bigger sucker, um i mean site, to acquire them.

Posted by: Audience on July 7, 2008 11:14 AM

And what's become even more exhausting is the push from every Social Media expert-come-lately to suggest "best practices", engagement strategies, blah, blah, blah. Makes me feel cheap and dirty. Gimme a fucking break. Give it a rest.

Posted by: Aragonesque on July 7, 2008 11:38 AM

WELL said Steve!

Of course I might have to use the phrase "the OMFG Social Media trendlet" in my next presentation because that is pure genius.

Posted by: C.C. Chapman on July 7, 2008 11:45 AM

Feel free, C.C. :-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on July 7, 2008 12:00 PM

This post is classic. Thank you!

Posted by: Liz on July 7, 2008 2:51 PM

I think you might be underestimating Twitter. As for FriendFeed, I've never been there, because I don't give a shit.

Posted by: David Burn on July 7, 2008 3:25 PM

Amen! And, your word "trendlet" is my new favorite word.

Posted by: Mark Baratelli on July 7, 2008 3:54 PM

Oh I've been a Twitter user for two years, David. As I said, I do like it. I'm just not sure it's usage is going to travel outside the insular circle it's now within.

Posted by: Steve Hall on July 7, 2008 4:07 PM

To David Burn - dude you are one of the geeks trying to set a trend that will disappear quickly - this is so typical of the 2.0 flag wavers - we really don't give a shit. Give us something that is sustainable, marketable, trackable profitable and can generate real business for an advertiser.

Posted by: David on July 8, 2008 12:38 PM

You sound like the old degenerates from the 90's who said that email would never catch on. Bunch of fucking luddites.

Posted by: Greg on July 8, 2008 10:41 PM

You sound like the old degenerates from the 90's who said that email would never catch on. Bunch of fucking luddites.

Posted by: Greg on July 8, 2008 10:41 PM

Greg, read on:

Steve, why don't you conduct a poll - how long will it take for Twitter to flitter?

Posted by: David on July 9, 2008 11:26 AM

Interesting... True about the geeky crowd mostly using it. Disagree on it's usefulness. It's a powerful communication tool. I've used it to hook up w/ people, tell friends and other people rushing last minute which platform a train's departing from, cancel a youth sports activity, etc.

Wondering what will be the tipping point be or when for mainstream users. I agree that it'll be crazy once that happens. I know this past weekend Twitter had some hiccups because of the number of users.

I do agree that some of the posts from TechCrunch are beyond stupid. I still haven't used FriendFeed. If I ever find a good use for it, I'll start using it. Otherwise, no need to mess w/ it. Also, who I follow and whoever follows me are people I know. I don't bother following Arrington or other folks. So I'll agree on the stupidity of following the likes of Arrington.

Posted by: Ed on July 9, 2008 11:54 AM

Like the vociferous tone, disagree with the conclusion. You can bark about the bandwaggon-chatter from some of the heavy users, but the platforms themselves aint a bad thing at all. And it's fairly myopic to discredit either on the basis that they're not marketable/profitable for advertisers, which David notes above. Thankfully value to advertisers and value to users can be two separate things.

Posted by: Marko on July 9, 2008 2:38 PM

Hey donkey, ever hear of SaaS or SOA?

Posted by: Tony T. on July 9, 2008 3:06 PM

Great post. It doesn't really matter which service you prefer. The same people are on both of them, having the same conversations in both places. And 99% of the web audience doesn't care about what those conversations are.

I do use both Twitter and Friendfeed regularly, in large part because I am in the social media and advertising space. My biggest complaint is the lack of content diversity on these sites. I'm looking for interesting people and information outside the space I work in. Unfortunately, those people, if they are on there, are hard to find or easily drowned out by the rest of the noise on there. To me, that's what will really make these services exciting.

Posted by: adam stewart on July 10, 2008 12:00 PM

Similar thoughts as Adam - would add to it that the majority of blog and social network sites I visit suffer a lack of content diversity - usually the same characters participating - which makes them weak and not very interesting. And from a marketing perpective for our clients, not attractive targeting opportunities. There are exceptions of course but they are few and far between in my opinion.

Posted by: David on July 10, 2008 12:08 PM

Bravo Steve! I think this quote from Kedrosky in a recent NYTimes article on VCs and Web 2.0 speaks volumes...
But Paul Kedrosky, an investor and the author of Infectious Greed, a venture capital-centric blog, said that there were deeper, more systemic problems for venture capitalists in addition to the cyclical challenges. He said part of the problem was that the industry was backing companies that lack widespread investor appeal, like YouTube clones and dating and social networking sites.

“There is nothing that the industry is producing that investors want,” Mr. Kedrosky said. “The stuff they’re investing in is idiosyncratic — it’s fun and appealing to them but Wall Street doesn’t care.” [end quote]

“The Valley is operating in its own little world, and the capital markets don’t care about the things that are getting the Valley excited.”

Posted by: Kevin Horne on July 10, 2008 1:57 PM

That is what I meant by "sustainable, marketable, trackable profitable and can generate real business for an advertiser." Otherwise why should an investor give a shit. It's the basics.

Posted by: David on July 10, 2008 2:16 PM