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An Open Letter To Whoever Controls The Fate Of FriendFeed

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To Whom It May Concern,

If I was writing a movie based around the current scene at FriendFeed, I would cast you as the big, evil corporation and all of us FriendFeeders as the people at the community centre standing in the way of ‘progress’. But I don’t write movies and, frankly, Channel 7 News isn’t going to show up to our placard-filled rally.

So, I am simply writing you this letter.

I am FriendFeed. I have the shirts. I have the stickers. I co-host the FFundercats, a podcast dedicated to FriendFeed. I have skin in this game. I also want to assure you that I am not a Facebook hater. I was every one’s Facebook guy (still kinda’ am) and have held an account there for a long time. But still, my blood runs FriendFeed Blue…

If someone were to tell you that your entire high school experience essentially boils down to the memories and opinions of the football captain or the head cheerleader, they would be sorely mistaken. Defining my years based off the experience of a small section of ‘popular kids’ belittles all the friends made, the things learned and the extra curricular adventures that existed far beyond the pages of the yearbook.

So it goes with FriendFeed.

FriendFeed is more than a few noisy tech bloggers. While I agree that there is thick filling of tech and social media content here, it sits on a delicious base of personalities and personal connections. Over the 18 months I have been here, I have seen births, deaths and marriages. I have watched children grow, others fight cancer, couples fall in love and felt very real support through my own family issues. I have emotional currency in here, and I am sorely in debt.

In short, we have a vibrant community here and we continue to use the service until the ship sinks. FriendFeed fits. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing at night. Two FriendFeed icons sit on the permanent bar at the bottom of my iPhone. My wife uses it. My 3 year old has an account. I find it more valuable every day.

We FriendFeeders use the site to have fun. We use it to learn. We use it to be sad. We use it to get happy. We use it as a chat room. We use it as a central point. We use it… still. See, that is what rocks about FriendFeed, it’s not just the technology, but what we do with it that makes it a great place.

So, since the sale to Facebook, we have seen the filling leak out, but I believe that this crisp base remains. My feed still rocks, as do those from most my friends, and I have even met new people, sharing in their lives as they do mine. Engagement may be down for a number of high profile users, or topics, but this can be explained in a number of ways.

Interaction Equation:
FriendFeed is all about interaction. We tell everyone who asks that if you want comments or likes, you first have to comment or like on others. The amount of time spent here interacting with others directly correlates to the amount of interaction you get in return. That equation also works in reverse. A number of high profile users ‘left’ after the sale so using this equation, as the amount of time decreased, so did their interactions.

The Bleeding Edge:
Some people want to be on the bleeding edge. Once a service is sold or changed, they seek other places because they must always be ahead, never paddling in a still lake.

Long Held Beliefs:
Some people just don’t like Facebook, sorry. They don’t like being where they see you are. I can’t change that.

We are not dead, we are just without certainty.

So, now to the hard stuff.

What are you going to do with Do you even have a long term plan for the service?

I understand that you have a brand to protect and you are in the business of making money, but how hard would it be to keep the servers turned on? Would you be open to ideas like an ad-supported model? Some other way way of ‘paying our own way’?

The difficult part is I have no really good reason to offer that might convince you keep everything switched on… so I’m asking nicely. The thing of greater difficulty is you have no good reason to do what I ask… except to totally rock.

What I ask is for a time period, a stay of execution. After all we have put into this place, give us a chance to keep finding new ways to use it. We are a fast moving, inventive and creative bunch of users, we may just surprise you with ideas you can use.

Many Thanks,

Johnny Worthington

Special thanks to Louis Gray for his counsell.

Written by johnworthington

October 21st, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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