There has been much discussion lately about how easy Twitter is and FriendFeed is harder to get into. I completely understand this, but I have also noticed that people mentioned they want to know how “power users” use FriendFeed. First, let me state that FriendFeed is a tool, and you can use it however you want. I wrote recently that the early adopters should be guides for when the mainstream starts to use these tools. Daniel Pritchett wrote about some “secrets” of FriendFeed power users with the idea of helping people tap into the power of FriendFeed. Since the question has been asked and I have stated that we should be guides, here are some of the tips that I have used or come across for using FriendFeed effectively.
You will miss stuff. You have to acknowledge the fact that you will miss comments and posts along the way. If you worry about missing a post from one of your favorite bloggers, then subscribe to them in your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget, you can always search in FriendFeed as well.
Break your subscriptions into lists. I have found this to be the biggest feature that really enhanced the way I use FriendFeed. Lists allow you to separate your subscriptions into various buckets. You can create a topical list. For example, you can create a list that contains people who typically share items related to the semantic web or current tech news. Create a list for people you must read. We all have a small group of people that we feel we must read. Why not make them into a list so that you rarely miss what they share? My most important list is my volume list. This list is that group of people who share so many items that their flood hides too many other people. Currently, that list has 5 or 6 people for me and I do check that list often. The benefit is that I get to see more information than I did before.
Get familiar with the hide options, and hide aggresively. On any given day, I probably hide more items than I read, like or comment on. I do this to ensure that I get to see more and varied information. This was critical during the election season. By hiding things, you allow other items to appear on your screen.
Hide a single feed from a user. I love this new feature. There are many people who share things from different blogs or services. Some people share their activity from various services that aren’t integrated as an “activity source”, so they look like any other blog. Now, you can hide that single feed. One feed type that is getting more popular is the twitter search for a user. I am not sure why people are adding this to FriendFeed, but now I can hide that feed without hiding the user. I say again, I love this feature.
It is OK to like and hide something. I do this frequently as well. Sometimes you want to like something, but you do not really want to participate in the conversation. So, click like, then click hide. Think of it as a bookmark that gets out of your way.
Don’t worry about “liking” a story. We all use “like” for different reasons. I use it as a marker to state that people should read the story. Some people use it as a bookmark. If the story is about a murder or some other type of injustice or terrible story, feel free to like it. You can even comment on why you clicked “like”. I have liked some posts purely because I liked the comments on FriendFeed.
Get involved in the conversations. FriendFeed allows you to feed in whatever content you want. However, feeding posts is only part of the service. One common theme from many people is that the conversations on FriendFeed are an excellent source of information. Getting involved in the conversations also shows other people that you are probably going to stick around for a while.
Review you comments. If you have not been on the site for a bit (as little as an hour during peak times), you will want to check your comment threads. I do this to see if people have continued a conversation while I was away or even when you just missed the replies because their is a lot of activity that day. Reviewing your comments gives you a chance to reply to people you normally do not interact with. Remember, FriendFeed is 24 hours a day, every day. I have replied to people hours after their comment, because they are part of the “night crew”. I am asleep during those times, but I am an early riser and I live on the east coast of the US. So, I get some time to review before the west coast wakes up.
Don’t look for friends. You do not need to look for friends. Initially you may want to check out the recommendations just for a starter kick. Also, do not turn off friend of a friend displays. In the beginning, it is a fantastic way to find people with related interests. One tip that I got from Robert Scoble is to look at the people participating in your conversations. If they say something interesting, they may be worth following. An extension of this is to look at the posts that you have liked. That person, as well as the people in the comment thread may all have common interests. It only takes a minute to look at someone’s profile to determine whether you want to follow them.
Shockingly enough, this is the short version of this post 🙂 I removed a bunch of stuff because they were not as good as the tips above, or I thought they were common sense. Because I did this, I am sure that some people will have tips that I may have removed or just missed completely. Also, remember that FriendFeed is a tool. You do not have to follow these tips or the tips of anyone else. The important thing is to make FriendFeed work for you.
What do you think? Did I miss something or is there a tip you would like to share?