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Just One Question on Friendfeed: Who Are You People?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 3, 2008

Like plenty of digerati, apparently, I’ve discovered FriendFeed, a sort of social media- and feed-sharing aggregation service where I can “follow” a bunch of people’s doings, whether they post stuff on Twitter, Flickr, or a number of other services. It’s all a bit too much for me right now—possibly for the reason Alexander van Elsas mentions, which is that all these items lack intention. But the fact that I can now see the entirety of what the five dozen or so people I follow are posting is pretty handy, especially with the filtering of services you can do on each person you follow.

What I can’t figure out is why so many people I’ve never heard of are following me. Frankly, given the nature of how I post on various services—which is to say, in bursts followed by long periods of nothing while more pressing work and play beckons—I don’t think I’m providing much of anything worth paying attention to.

But even if I were, I’m not sure why these people care about what I’m doing. “Black Olive,” “B.T.,” “Santosh Maharshi”—who are you? The one thing FriendFeed lacks that I crave is a mandatory bio for people who are following you. I mean, if they’re interested in me, I might be interested in them, but it’s hard for me to tell if I don’t know whom they are. And apparently, there’s no real mechanism to tell me why, either.

So how about it, Bret, Paul, et. al.: Any way you can give us a way to know who all these fans/spies/voyeurs are?

Reader Comments


April 4, 2008 1:15 AM

But it is really much different than regularly reading your posts here but not commenting, or hooking into the RSS feed?

Dear Mr. Hof, my name is Daneane and I am reading your post because I have nothing better to do.

Ontario Emperor

April 4, 2008 3:38 AM

For me, the one thing that has increased the number of FriendFeed people that I follow is it feature where it shows you friends of friends; for example, the entries that say things like

"Todd McKinney (friend of Steven Hodson) posted a blog post on Unraveling Obfuscation"

If I like what Todd McKinney said, then I'll subscribe to Todd McKinney myself.

And my FriendFeed network will grow.


April 4, 2008 3:52 AM

How about asking for a microbio, along the lines of the field Twitter provides? (It doesn't have to have such a small character limit...) "B.T." also subscribed to me, and a bunch of my FF contacts too. None of us knows who it is, but h(is|er) subscription count was over 1,900 at last count.

Devin Anderson

April 4, 2008 3:03 PM

Some people are just subscribing to everyone, hoping that a lot of people will follow them in turn. Then they promote their content to these people.

slippy lane

April 4, 2008 7:17 PM

Want to know who someone on friendfeed is? Just follow the links to their feed services (twitter, blogs etc) and read their profiles there. Or try and guage them from the kind of stuff they post at friendfeed - that will like as not tell you whether you'll be interested in the stuff they post at friendfeed, lol.

Having said all that, friendfeed user engtech has created a "Who Are You?" Greasemonkey script for friendfeed.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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