Monday, March 17, 2008

FriendFeed Search - Uniting the Disparate Metacomments

So anyways, I was musing earlier about the existence of different conversations on FriendFeed regarding the same artifact. In my example, Duncan Riley wrote a post, and there was a little bit of FriendFeed discussion pointing to the post, but there was a lot of FriendFeed discussion pointing to Louis Gray's sharing of the post.

Just a few minutes ago I was checking my Google Reader feeds, and saw the news from Robert Scoble and TechCrunch (Michael Arrington, not Duncan Riley) that FriendFeed now offered a search capability.

So I went to FriendFeed and tried a search for more hyped yawn.

Duncan Riley probably won't be pleased to discover that Louis Gray's shared item appears first on the list, beating out the original post itself. There's also a FriendFeed link from Corvida, a bookmark from Gray, and a tweet from Corvida.

Problem solved!

But I should also check something else out. Mike Doeff alerted me to a FriendFeed discussion, centered around Paul Buchheit's post "Is Fragmentation Bad?"

Let's look at the post first and see what Buchheit has to say. Using the example of a movie, he presents some alternative ways to discuss the movie:

Sometimes it's fun to hear what "random" people think. If the movie is a little more niche and you're somewhat of a connoisseur, you may not care what random people, or even your friends, think. On the other hand, going to movies is often more about shared experience than it is about the movie itself. We enjoy spending time with our friends and the movie is just something interesting to discuss.

Ultimately, a single movie may spawn millions of separate discussions among millions of different people, all in different situations and contexts.

However, there's a question that no one is asking: Isn't all that fragmentation bad? Instead of having millions of separate discussions, shouldn't we have a single, unified discussion, preferably under the control and ownership of the movie studio?


Buchheit then focuses on FriendFeed:

Although comments are one of our most popular features, they are also our most controversial feature. If you believe that there should only be a single, unified discussion, then the extra fragmentation caused by FriendFeed will seem like a step in the wrong direction. In fact, not only is there a separate discussion on FriendFeed, there may be hundreds of separate discussions within FriendFeed on the very same topic or link (because different people are sharing the link, and different people have different friend groups).

I, for one, enjoy the fragmentation. It's important to understand that FriendFeed isn't trying to replace the specialized communities on places such as news.yc, or the screaming hordes on YouTube. We're creating a third option: discussion with friends.

So let's go back to the discussion. Or at least one of the discussions. Philipp Lenssen stated the following:

The problem within Friendfeed is that even in your personal subscription prism, you often don't know where to comment due to fragmentation... as the same item pops up in related or similar friend groups.

And even the search capability doesn't offer an ironclad solution. What is the "right" place to discuss "More Hyped Yawn"?

Oh well, at least search makes it easier to find the most interesting discussion about an artifact and join in.

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

Sphere: Related Content