I have been spending more time using FriendFeed and Twitter, but I have been trying to balance that with a life. So, obviously I am not doing a good job. Yesterday however, was an interesting day on FriendFeed. Let me start by saying I do follow Scoble on FriendFeed. I also try to follow some other “A-List” bloggers from Mashable and TechCrunch. So, when Mashable posted an article on Onaswarm, people went to check it out. Onaswarm is another lifestreaming service that Mashable gave a fairly good review of. That is when it started. The comments were flying and even Scoble went to see Onaswarm … immediately. You can probably search on FriendFeed to find the actual details of the conversations. Once people had some time to look at it, they started commenting and in true internet fashion, they did not hold back. The general consensus was that Onaswarm looked interesting, but it was not a FriendFeed killer. A couple other lifestreaming services were mentioned and panned as not being as good as FriendFeed. Then Onaswarm either went down, or had major performance problems.
Thankfully, the comments at this point were not hostile. However, one person did say, if you can not handle the load of a mention from Mashable, then do not try to place in this game. Somewhat harsh words but in many senses true. If they got coverage from Mashable, it is likely because they asked for it and Mashable thought they were worth covering. You have basically begged for visitors. So, when they went down (or whatever happened), they lost a large set of influential users. I say this because the A-List (in this case, Scoble, TechCrunch and Mashable) do not have a lot of time to wait and see what happens with a site. Plaxo is supposedly doing really cool things, but nobody seems to care because they spammed your address book in their early days. First impressions are very important. The power of the A-List is also evident on FriendFeed. Why is FriendFeed the leading lifestream service? Were they first? I am not sure as they launched around the same time as several others. Do they support the most services? No, Profilactic does that with 175 services aggregated. Is it the massive configurability of how you view the feeds from various services? No, not really. You can hide stuff for people or services, but their is no follow a particular service for a user. There is no “filtered” view of one service either (unless I missed that one). Other services do these things as well.
So why FriendFeed? Well, because they received some hype due to a funding round, they got some press coverage. Then the A-Listers said they liked it, and I will admit the interface is pleasant and useful. Then, most importantly, the users followed. That is the power of the A-List if you are a startup. If they like you, they can deliver users, very passionate users, on a silver platter.