Sunday, February 1, 2009

Creating FriendFeed imaginary friends

I've created another screencast. This time I take on creating FriendFeed imaginary friends. One of the things I hear most often from people as to why they don't want to try FriendFeed is, "All my friends are on X." Where X is usually Facebook or Twitter.

The beauty of FriendFeed is that it is an aggregator so your friends (and you) can pipe their information into FriendFeed from a variety of sources, and you only have to go to one place to see it. But that doesn't work so well if your friends don't use FriendFeed. To solve that problem FriendFeed allows you to create imaginary friends. Basically, you can follow them as if they were really using the service. It's actually very cool.

There are three use cases for imaginary friends:

  • Staying up with people who don't use FriendFeed
  • Following people where you don't want them to know you are following them. Yes-- stalking
  • Creating hybrid friends-- combining several feeds from disparate sources into a single feed

If you've been thinking of moving to FriendFeed, but haven't because your friends don't use it, then perhaps imaginary friends is just what you've been needing to make the leap. Give it a try.

NOTE: Be sure and watch the HD version of the screencast. It was rendered in HD and it is far more viewable than the lower quality default formats. Also, YouTube tells you this is a little over 9 minutes long. That isn't right-- it's actually 6 minutes. This was my error. I've replaced the video with a sparkly brand-new clean version.


Sue Waters said...

Thanks for making me your imaginary friend. I did watch it this morning when you gave me the link but wasn't until tonight that I got around to reading all the posts.

So does this mean most of your blog reading is coming from FriendFeed now instead of Google Reader?

I passed your name onto one of my followers today that was trying to work out friendfeed and told them to watch your videos.

Maybe if I get time over the next week I will have a try of FriendFeed.

Kevin Gamble said...

Yes, pretty much. That is my goal anyway, to move all _people_ that I follow out of Reader and to FriendFeed. I'm getting closer. Just a few more to go.

If they are already using FriendFeed then it's a no-brainer. If they aren't in FriendFeed then they have to pass a little higher threshold for me to go through the extra step of creating them as an imaginary friend. Whether they pass the test or not is almost irrelevant. If they don't pass the test, I pretty much unsubscribe from their feed regardless. So this is helping me to reach my goal of following only media, and my workstreams in Reader. (Although, I've been considering piping my workstreams into FriendFeed as hybrid imaginary friends.)

The bigger thing for me about FriendFeed is that probably 80% of the things I used to blog about are now just going into FriendFeed. It's becoming my preferred personal blogging platform.

(Oops, long winded reply. :))


Steve Judd said...


How do I add imaginary friends in the "new" FriendFeed?

Thanks, Steve

Kevin Gamble said...

Imaginary friends have been folded into groups. You can create a group composed of any number of feeds. So an imaginary friend is just a special form of groups where the feeds all come from one person.

I've had several people ask this so I'm going to make another screencast and demonstrate this. I'm deep into some data analysis now, but I might decide to take this on over the weekend. I don't think it'll take too long. (Famous last words.)


Steve Judd said...

Thanks Kevin, that pointed me in the right direction.