Archive for the ‘MicroMeme’ Category

Friendfeed & Twitter


As you know, I’m very active on twitter (my profile), if you haven’t already, read how I use Twitter. Yesterday, I lost 1000 followers, due to Twitter removing spammers “Twammers” most were bots that were publishing content to feed their websites or client sites —more from Cnet

Yesterday, I was live tweeting the highlights from Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote, apparently very few tweets from others were being published, I, among a few others were the only ones able to publish.

Also when I get to 10,000 Twitter followers, I’m going to give away some electronics that I’ve been reviewing, stating with a Nokia Wi-Fi tablet, so stay tuned there.

On a side note, the head of our consulting department recently joined Twitter, of course, I warned her that I was high volume, and suggested an internal use of the tool would be great for her to keep track of all the consultants projects –as they travel the globe. Does anyone know of a twitter clone for enterprise (and ties with SMS)?

If you’re creating, or critiquing a lot of social content on the web (or are a creator/critic/collector/joiner), you’ve probally noticed that it’s disjointed and disparte –content is spread all over the place. If you are regularly creating, rating, ranking content on more than 5 social websites, you should also consider aggregating all of that on Friendfeed. I’m pulling in Pandora, Twitter, Blog posts, Upcoming, Flickr, upcoming and all kinds of other social services into my friendfeed page.

Also, nearly every day, I kick off a conversation (often NOT about tech) on Friendfeed, as it’s most suited for discussions –a discussion board. Today I hosted this discussion on “what do you love –and hate– about growing older” or this Debate discussing whether the United States should stay in the middle east to finish the job, or leave and reduce short term risk.

Find me on Twitter and Friendfeed, but warning, I’m high volume (but generally sometimes high signal) on both channels.

Update: see this list of brands on Twitter, impressive.

Herding Behavior on Friendfeed


I’ve been pretty quiet here on this blog for the last few days, and will continue to be. why? I’m seeing a shift in discussion over to Friendfeed, and will be sharing links of things that I see are interesting, engaging in conversations, and will “like” (indicating I find someone else’s content is interesting). While I’ll still continue to use tools like Twitter and my blog, I’ve noticed an increase in activity.

Friendfeed contains many of the social behaviors all on one platform, aside from aggregating content (you can see all my tweets, flickr, digg, upcoming, blogs on one stream) you yourself can be a creator, critic, collector, joiner, or spectator. (learn more about these from this presentation)

Similiar to Facebook’s newsfeed, the tool prioritizes what’s interesting in your network of friends, which I call a Micromeme (based off my interview with the CEO). Also, if you’re curious how brands will use Friendfeed, I’ve already made a prediction on how they’ll use it for collecting content from disparate sources –esp during an announcement.

You can find me at Friendfeed at Jowyang.

Update: Louis Gray suggests that I show off my discussion page, where you can see how I’ve reacted to particular items, both mine and others.

How Brands Will Use FriendFeed


While I’m not a Friendfeed zealot like respected Steve Rubel, I’m seeing an opportunity for Friendfeed to help corporations further their social media efforts.

If you’re not familiar with the Social Media Press Release (SMPR), it’s a process/document that helps press releases to not only carry the traditional content (who what when where why and how) of a company announcement, but it also provides links and assets to social media: blogs, images, videos, tags, etc.

[Currently, Social Media is disparate and fragmented, making the conversation difficult to track, find, and use. Although too early for it’s time, the Social Media Press Release, will reincarnate as Friendfeed]

Alone, the social media press release isn’t an effective use of being in the spirit of social media, it’s somewhat devoid of the humanness and resulting conversation that many expect. However, full-blown announcements that contain quit a bit of images, blog posts, videos, and social networking campaigns require an ability to organize, and keep track of the disparate conversation.

SMPR too early

I’m the recipient of dozens of press releases every week, so I’m very familiar with what to expect, and frankly, haven’t seen a single SMPR since I’ve been an analyst since Oct, 07 submitted to me. You can however view Ford’s Social Media Press Release room called “Digital Snippets“, as one interpretation. Update: Inventor Todd has a small, but growing list on his site.

The good news for the pioneers of the SMPR (smart folks like Todd Defren, Brian Solis, Chris Heuer) of the Social Media Press Release is that they were way ahead of the curve, they really had foresight to how corporate communications were going to change. The bad news is they were too early, and adoption hasn’t yet happened.

[Brands will use Friendfeed like a Social Media Press Release, to aggregate their social assets, and then to spur on a conversation]

How it could look

Fortunately, there’s good news at hand, with social aggregation tools at hand, such as FriendFeed, a brand can create a Friendfeed account and easily consolidate all the assets from one location. What would this look like? A brand like Ford could create a Friendfeed account, submit to the various social services (Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, Delicious, and over 30 others), then encourage fans of Ford to either follow that public Friendfeed page, or to become actual ‘friends’. The end result? All the social media assets will be viewed from one location, searchable, findable, with the ability to comment, without using a SMPR.

Many brands will get it wrong, it’s not just publishing

The one caveat is that brands will need to be part of the discussion that happens among these social tools, as what’s really important is the people that are talking, debating, and discussing what your company is announcing. For those that get it wrong, no one will subscribe, no one will talk about it, no one will ‘like’ it and spread it to their network. So be active in the comments, conversations, and an open manner.

I’ve not seen a single brand do this, but it’s what I expect to see in the coming months, let’s see if my prediction will come true.

Related Resources on Friendfeed:

  • You can find me on Friendfeed, “Jowyang”
  • Start Here: What Friendfeed’s “MicroMeme” Means For You, Brands, and The Web
  • TrendWatch: Comparing MicroMemes (Friendfeed), Network Feeds, and MacroMemes
  • Update: Todd has responded from his blog, although disagrees on adoption.

    Update 2: Ford has adopted Friendfeed as a form of the SMPR

    TrendWatch: Comparing MicroMemes, Network Feeds, and MacroMemes


    I want you to start thinking differently about how you get information. As you know from my postings, that trust is highest from our peers, we trust those that are like us, or our friends above all us.

    Information delivery is evolving, we’re starting to get information on the open wide web from our friends and contacts (although email has been a medium for a long time).

    TrendWatch: Anatomy of MicroMemes, Network Feeds, and MacroMemes:

    1) Narrow: MicroMeme

    MicroMemes are highly focused and targeted, delivering the information to you that your network and friends thinks is important. A few days ago, I interviewed the founder of Friendfeed, an example of a MicroMeme.

    [MicroMeme: Information with your immediate network about what they think is the most important]

    [Example: “Three of your friends think this article is great”]

    LinkedIn displays “articles your colleagues are reading” as well as other companies. Colleagues are in your direct network, tying news to your social graph.

    Upcoming, displays the top events from your friends, to find local events, perhaps a great way to get timely information from your network (per Scoble’s suggestion)

    Google Reader recently added a “Friends Shared Items” which looks at gestures to determine what your contacts find is important. I credit Steve Gillmor for leading the theory on Gestures, I’d link to him, but he doesn’t prefer that.

    Plaxo Pulse, recently acquired by Comcast, (keep an eye on this, I am) displays information that your network cares about. Picture from Terry Chay’s Flickr photos, used with Creative Commons attribution

    Friendfeed, which I’ve already discussed shows information based upon your friends, pulling in all of their social streams.

    Facebook’s Newspage (thanks to Jamie, in the comments) points out that it indicates weight of objects from your network such as ““5 of your friends are attending xyz concert on June 15th.”

    2) Moderate: Network Feeds

    Common in many social networks and feedreaders, they display the most recent information from your network but do not prioritize it based on anything but time. This is problematic over time, as we need to find what’s important in a sea of noise.

    [Network Feed: The most recent information from your network, but not prioritized by your friends]

    [Example: Today, your friends have joined a group, added a picture and yesterday, your sister went to a baseball game]

    Feedreaders like MyYahoo or BlogLines don’t put weight on what your network thinks is important, and therefore just deliver content based upon most recent.

    MySpace’s newspage shows alerts based on time, but does not prioritize or look for trends or memes.

    3) Wide: MacroMeme

    The most common form of how information was delivered for over 100 years is by industry and from an editor that you don’t know, and sometimes don’t trust. Although more advanced forms have appeared with news sites that use algorithms to find out what’s important.

    [MacroMeme: Information about the things your industry thinks is important]

    [Example: The top news stories today are Microsoft wanting to acquire Yahoo according to the New York Times]

    New York Times has no social sorting of your content, nor does it prioritize information based upon your networks’ preferences. It’s sorted at the industry level although it offers various “popularity”.

    Techmeme delivers industry related information for the tech industry, but it’s not sorted by social networks, or social preferences –unless you’re one of the few top bloggers that are actively involved.

    Google News also displays information based upon industry perspective, but does offer a “popular” ranking.

    Each of these information delivery systems serves a different purpose, none is better than the other, but it’s important to know that MicroMeme presentation is a trend on the rise. For many, MacroMemes will continue to be the way that information is delivered on the morning breakfast table, but as the next generation of information cravers arrive, information will start to be sorted by our social preferences.

    What Friendfeed’s “MicroMeme” Means For You, Brands, and The Web


    Bret Taylor, one of the Friendfeed founders
    Bret Taylor, one of Friendfeed’s four founders

    After experimenting with Friendfeed (add me) on and off since March, and more heavily the last few weeks, I decided it was time to meet Founder Bret Taylor at Friendfeed’s airy headquarters in Mountain View for a formal analyst briefing. I don’t often blog about the companies that brief me, unless I see something of particular interest.

    Trends: As more social content is created, value is hard to find

    Many create their own content…
    Forrester’s Social Technographics indicate how people are using social technologies. You’ll quickly note that toggling the age ranges in nearly every geography that adoption of these tools is much higher among youth, although adults are also using these tools. I’ve not seen any indicators that content created on the web by consumers will decrease, sorting through this firehose will continue to be a challenge as we adopt more and more services like blogs, facebook, myspace, delicious, twitter, and whatever comes next.

    …Yet finding our friends signal is challenging
    The challenge is that much of the content that is created is noise to many, but signal to very few. You may not care what Michelle eats for dinner, but her immediate sisters absolutely do. With this micro conversations happening on many websites, we need to organize this content not around websites, tools or technologies, but instead …sorted by people.

    Information needs to be sorted around people, not content
    Unlike search tools that sort by content, the social web needs to be sorted by people, and what’s important to them. Each person has a unique network of friends, and our trust research (see graph) indicates that information shared among peers is highest.

    [MicroMeme: A conversation with your immediate network about what they think is the most important]

    It’s not a MacroMeme: A conversation about the things your industry thinks is important, like Techmeme, Digg, or NYTs homepage.

    Friendfeed is a:
    A social network
    A social feedreader
    A way to sort information by people, not content
    Similar to Facebook’s Newspage (Dave McClure calls this an open source Newspage)
    The underpinnings of yet another social graph

    Friendfeed is not:
    A Facebook/Twitter killer
    A replacement
    The end all

    How Friendfeed works?
    After signing up, you can can subscribe (via RSS) to your flickr, twitter, blog URL, a total of 35 services (with more coming, I’m sure). Everytime you created content on any of those publishing sites, it will now appear in your river. Next, you can connect with friends (this is a social network) to see their content.

    After the streams of your content and your friends is centralized in one place, you can favorite items, or leave comments on their items and begin discussions. This has created some angst among users who feel the conversation is splintered, yet again. There are other features such as filters or bookmarking tools, Expect friendfeed to collect discussions from these many tools into one place

    Lastly, the goal of Friendfeed (although the features aren’t fully there yet) are to find out what’s important within your network, by elevating the most talking about contents. A meme is an important theme or idea that is being discussed, and the goal of Freindfeed is to create unique meme’s for every user, each will be different.

    Inside Friendfeed, a former car mechanics garage that was converted in web boom
    An inside view of the airy Friendfeed HQ

    Market Forces:

    Competitive Forces
    I asked Bret who the thought the biggest competition was, he responded “Email” as it was the most common method that people share information. Brew expressed he feels his service is complimentary to others, and users who feel they’ve moved away from other services were indications that they weren’t as attached as before. I noticed that because content can be added via RSS, the barriers to entry are lower than Facebook, as you don’t have to sign up through every service.

    Weaknesses and Challenges
    This tools is in the very early stages, it’s not been truly stress tested during an election, Superbowl, or national emergency. The spartan UI, while simple and spartan leave more advanced users with more to desire (fortunately there’s an API). It’s unlikely everyone will use this tool, only a subset of advanced social users. And perhaps most importantly, while there’s certainly a very smart team assembled, aggregating RSS feeds is low on the science isn’t new, there’s plenty of room for other competitors to enter this space, or for existing social networks with millions of users to offer similar features.

    Eventual Impacts to Brands
    My main role as an analyst is to help interactive marketers (the main readers of this blog) and Friendfeed right now is mainly a personal user tool. However, if you’re attempting to evangelize your company using social tools, you can create a user name around your brand and start to aggregate your brands social assets in one location. Then, you can have conversations with those that have an affinity with your company, learning and sharing with them.

    Do not think of this tool as a one-way publishing systems, it’s an interactive conversation of give and take. In the long run, content created about your brand (employees or customers) will aggregate into one location, this will be particularly effective for product lines, events, and launches.

    Perhaps one major challenge to brands is that Friendfeed users will share information directly with each other, reducing any unwanted noise or clutter from brands, such as invasive marketing, or advertising. To reach Friendfeed users, brands will need to: 1) create relevant content and 2) be part of the conversation. I do recall similar conversations in 2005 with the popularity of feedreaders.

    What I learned about Friendfeed
    Founded in Oct, 2007, This small team or 8 employees are ex-Googlers that built the highly scalable and successful Gmail and Google Maps products. They are seasoned, trained, and well, rich. They raised $5million from benchmark and two of the Friendfeed employees, some were employees at Google before it hit 1000 employees. I asked them why they left Google, and their entrepreneurial spirit was fueling them forward. Unlike Google, they are extremely open, transparent, both in company communications, as well as offering an API for developers. They believe a free service should be open towards it’s users.

    What’s Next for Friendfeed
    They will continue to add new features that aggregate the MicroMeme of your friends, or sometimes the friends of a friend (FoaF) in order to enhance what is important to users. They’re not looking at monetization yet, but mentioned that advertising based on social activities could be in order. More on that as that develops.

    Friendfeed HQ
    A view from the front: Friendfeed used to be a former auto garage

    What you should do:
    Friendfeed is an example of the trend the web is headed: content sorted by people, not by topic. It’s currently being used by very early adopters. If you or your company creating a lot of social content, perhaps more than 5 social sites, or your friends are, you should create a Friendfeed account and trial the service. Experiment with the service until you’re comfortable with it before promoting to your network. Perform searches on topics that are interesting to you, try the advanced search features, monitor these topics, your name/brand and engage in conversations.

    Update: Part of the criticism of Friendfeed is that the conversations splinter, this has already happened, see what others are saying (and critiquing) about this post.