Feb 15, 2009

A simple but useful improvement for friendfeed

I use friendfeed more then any other social media service and I give it an 8 out of 10 so far. This service has great potential. However, I have a pet peeve and a simple solution to it...I think.

Background: Friendfeed allows people to be grouped in two primary ways. You can create Lists or Rooms.

Situation: My Blook Report on Groundswell features a friendfeed room with over 80 members. A few people join each week, and I in turn subscribe to their feeds. I then add them to a Groundswell inbox list so I have one place to aggregate their feeds. This list serves as a listening post and I read it daily.

Up to five new members join the Groundswell room each week. But, there is no easy way for me to know who they are and whether I've subscribed to their feed or not. To your left is a partial list of the room members. See what I mean? The simple solution would be to have a small "+" or "-" under each persons name, or when I mouse over their picture. Alas, this isn't the case. So what do I have to do instead?

I'm glad you asked! To your left is how it works today. I have to mouse over each member of the room and wait for their profile to display. You can see that I've subscribed to Josh's feed and added him to my Friend list called Groundswell InBox. This is the only way I can check to see if I have or haven't subscribed to his feed and added him to the list.

While this takes a few seconds per member, imagine if you have 200 people in your room and 40 people join it in one day. Imagine this happening every day, every month, every year. This cannot scale. If you're thinking about using friendfeed for community building and research this would become problematic especially as your community grows.

So here is why I think it is simple for friendfeed to fix this issue. On your left is Josh Bernoff's profile picture and you'll notice a "-" sign on the top right hand corner. Because Josh is on my Groundswell Inbox list, I can mouse over his picture and unsubscribe by pressing the "-" sign. But, I can't do this when I mouse over his profile picture while in the friendfeed room. This is odd. Imagine that you are using Microsoft Excel and the drop down menu is different from Microsoft Word. Hey where did the file > save as go?

Solution: Does it not seem simple to offer the same feature for rooms? I would mouse over the persons picture and there would be "+" or "-" sign on the top right hand corner. Man that would be cool. Simple things can produce amazing results.


  1. Little simple things that make services better account for 70% of why I use the services I do.

    Hopefully FriendFeed has some people with their ears on the ground and will pick up on this suggestion.

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