Lately, I have been trying to use FriendFeed more often due to the amount of hype it receives. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So, the minimalist interface is nice and the whole follow people thing is good. The one benefit I got from using it was I got to follow people on Twitter without using Twitter. Like a good little soldier, I started following my friends. Then I started to add people whose feeds I follow like Scoble, MSaleem and Louis Gray. That is when it started. I could not keep up with the amount of stuff going through FriendFeed. So what is the problem? Well, FriendFeed needs to get a few more nice features to really keep their edge. Filtering on a user is good, but filtering out certain services for specific people would be great. Honestly, we should have the developers of FriendFeed add Scoble’s Twitter feed and see how much work they get done.
Twitter is a different beast entirely. In the early days of Twitter, it was said to be a status update thing. So you saw a lot of “I had ravioli for dinner” comments. Then something happened. It evolved into something much bigger with much more potential. The best way to describe Twitter now is that it is a “loosely coupled, context free IM chat with the world”. The only context in Twitter is really time, meaning when did someone tweet something. You can reply but there is no real threading yet.
I know the title mentions information overload and I will get to the point. While using FriendFeed, I saw a tweet by Darren Rowse of Problogger. Forgive me Darren but I am going to paraphrase what you said, “He is afraid of using FriendFeed”. Given that he is a user of Twitter, I found that very interesting. Twitter gives you more information than you could ever want, as fast as people can type it. FriendFeed is similar in nature, but it takes a bunch of services and lumps them together so you can see everything your friends are sharing. The real problem with both of these services comes down to who do you follow. Once you start following thousands of people, the information becomes too much to digest. Tamar Weinberg at Techipedia has a great initial analysis of FriendFeed that talks about her solution.
The best solution I have for myself is my personal Bloglines subscription to only a core group of people, but with a limitation of 200 stories maximum in queue, that fills up rather quickly. Imagine receiving over 500 updates a day and not checking your feed reader (or your FriendFeed) in 2 days.
I tried the RSS feed from FriendFeed, and it did not work for me. I am probably just going to trim the number of people in FriendFeed in order to be able to manage the information. Thankfully, I still follow a ton of RSS feeds, so that I will see most of the information I want to see. If I miss something, I am sure someone will share it with me on one of the other social services.
So, how do you cope with the flood of information?