Talking Tech Friday – Friendfeed

Cathy suggested that I review Friendfeed, and indeed I have also heard the buzz in libraryland about it.  So, I bring you:

What is is?

Friendfeed is a mixture between a social network aggregator and a social network.  Its primary function is to collect all your various updates on the web into one place.  Your friends can then subscribe to your feed to gather all your updates, and vice versa.

How does it work?

After creating an account (nothing unusual here), you specify which of your social sites you’d like in your feed.   Friendfeed will track updates to a wide variety of social sites: Twitter, Amazon wishlists, LibraryThing, Goodreads, blog rss feeds,, Flickr accounts, Picasa web albums, Google reader,, digg, Netflix, Netvibes, Youtube, Stumbleupon – you get the picture.  Notice, however, none of these sites include social networking profiles such as MySpace, Facebook, or Ning.  I guess the point of Friendfeed is to allow your friends to track your updates everywhere else.  Friendfeed tracks updates to these sites by  username, so you don’t have to give Friendfeed your login information for every site, which is a relief.

Friendfeed has a corresponding Facebook widget, so that you can embed your feed into your profile.  There is also a generic embeddable widget for other websites and blogs.  MySpace, however, doesn’t allow javascript so it is incompatible with Friendfeed.  Alas.

When setting up your feed, you can select privacy settings – either allowing everyone to see it by making it public, or limiting it to approved viewers.  You can also set up a private room that allows you to connect with very specific people and interact with their feed by leaving comments and such.

A nice feature of Friendfeed is you can add friends who don’t use it by setting up an “Imaginary User”.  So, if I have a friend in Flickr who only uses Flickr, I can add follow their updates by adding their user name to Friendfeed.

Each Friendfeed generates an RSS feed, so your friends can subscribe to it in a reader, and vice versa.  You can also view feeds through their webpage, much like twitter, with your updates intermingled with your friends’.

One last additional feature is that Friendfeed has a bookmarklet that allows you to bookmark sites outside of your networks that you might want to share with your friends – maybe a story from the Arizona Republic, etc.

Possible Library Uses

I actually think Friendfeed has great potential for libraries.  In our 2.0 frenzy, librarians have distributed themselves all over the web, tagging resources in, slapping up photos in Flickr, and creating book lists in Library Thing.  Having a library Friendfeed account which allows users to subscribe and embedding a widget on the library’s website collects all that information into one package.  It’s very easy to set up, has some nice privacy controls, and the rooms feature could be used for all sorts of library programming ideas – book clubs, teen groups, classes, etc.  Of course, it’s also useful for librarian and library staff networking.



~ by Anali on July 18, 2008.

4 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday – Friendfeed”

  1. […] a mixture between a social network aggregator and a social network.? Its primary function is to co Museums of the Internet Web RingFeatures a directory of strange and/or unusual sites in a […]

  2. Glad you reviewed this. I set-up my account and dumped my library feeds in it. Friend Feed is pretty out there. Early adopters only, but it is neat to combine all that stuff together for people you follow in different areas.

  3. […] still use Friendfeed to help collect and share information with people.  My Friendfeed lets my friends know when I post […]

  4. […] is “What are you listening to right now?” can integrate with Twitter, Friendfeed, and, among other […]

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