Posts Tagged 'twitter'

Storm in a teapot

Kara Swisher wrote a post recently Twitter: Where Nobody Knows Your Name. While attending a wedding at Washington D.C., she did an informal technology survey with about 30 people all of whom were quite intelligent, armed with all kinds of the latest devices (many, many people had iPhones, for example) and not sluggish about technology.

There are her findings (not at all surprising to me), quoting from her article

The grand total who knew what Twitter was: 0
Same goes for FriendFeed: 0
Widget: 1 (but she thought it was one of the units used in a business class study).
Facebook: Everyone I asked knew about it and about half had an account, although different people used it differently.

So her conclusion,

In other words, confirming for me what I wrote last week about the intense obsession with the hottest new services like Twitter and FriendFeed, in the echo chamber of Silicon Valley, and how no one else cares yet.

Basically all the fuss about FriendFeed and Twitter in the tech world sounds very much like storm in a teapot, I couldn’t agree more. But the question then why is a service like Facebook so much more mainstream than FriendFeed or Twitter? Perhaps it’s a matter of time before Twitter and FriendFeed gets more adoption but IMO, the simple answer is that the value of Facebook, likewise MySpace or Youtube, is immediately obvious to non-techie users. If a service make non-techie users work to figure out how to use it, you have lost them, pure and simple. Also, I suspect that non-techie users have no idea what a feed is, much less feed aggregator or mashups.

This post is actually a lead up to my next post on a current ongoing DataPortability DIY project of the month on rel=me adoption, rel=me is a XFN (XHTML Friends Network) microformat standard, I will explain more in the next post.

Is FriendFeed all that?

In the post, How our digital lives are spreading out, Scoble dotes on FriendFeed and in a separate post said that his new blog design will be heavily influenced by FriendFeed, whatever that means. If he likes it any more, he would marry FriendFeed, talk about an unholy union. BTW, is Scoble migrating his online presence from his blog to FriendFeed an example of “Decentralized Me” or rather “Centralized Decentralized Me”?

All joking aside, his post got me thinking about whether FriendFeed is all that Scoble gushes about. I can see FriendFeed’s appeal for someone like him, a tech pundit and blogger with his own company fully immersed in the web 2.0 lifestyle doing a zillion things at one time. But what about your average user, Joe Blow, who enjoys watching the occasional video, rarely if ever posting a video, probably doesn’t have a blog, maybe has a MySpace or Facebook profile and well, generally not all that interesting to anyone else other than his friends and family. To which I say, Friendfeed isn’t really all that interesting to him, at least not in the same way as someone like Scoble.

The way I see it, services like FriendFeed and Twitter are particularly meaningful for someone who is well-known in his field, has a lot of followers / readers, and a desire to further extend his brand online. For the average user who doesn’t have much of an audience, it quickly becomes boring for him to friendfeed or twitter. However, the value of FriendFeed to an average user is keeping abreast of his favorite online personality activities. What say ye, FriendFeed and Twitter users.

BTW, how does Scoble keeps tab on 16,000 people? Talk about information overload.

Updated 4/4/2008
I must have been channeling Scoble when I wrote this post (or maybe I stole his speech for Next Web Conference) but here’s what Scoble said per Techcrunch post Live From the Next Web (2008): Day 2

Kicking things off is Robert Scoble, who is talking about the new digital divide: People with friends and people without friends. The old digital divide (rich versus poor) still exists. But the new digital divide is a consequence of how social software works. You have a better experience on Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Upcoming or even Google Reader the more friends that you have. But if you don’t have any friends, the experience really sucks.