Monday’s TechCrunch article called Bloglines on life support. this story needs an ending brought back some memories, as I stopped using Bloglines a while back. IAC can’t even give away the Bloglines service to a potential buyer.
When I started reading RSS feeds several years ago, I used Bloglines.com as my aggregator. For a while, I posted my blog articles on Bloglines. I’ve imported many of those articles to billso.com. See my articles called This blog has a history and This blog has more history for more details.
Back in 2006, I actually had group assignments in my graduate courses that required students to use Bloglines for finding and commenting on news articles. It was a fun experiement, but the clunky Bloglines editing software really frustrated some students. From the reports I’ve read, Bloglines hasn’t fixed many of their problems since then.
Since May 2008, I’ve relied on FriendFeed as a crowdsourced aggregator and filter that also consolidates most of my social media activity, including my Twitter feed at @billso. I demonstrated FriendFeed for my 2008 EMBA course at HPU. Mashable.com has an excellent description of how FriendFeed works in an article called How to: Take advantage of FriendFeed’s unique features
But FriendFeed’s days seem numbered, as Facebook announced they would purchase FriendFeed on Monday, 10 August 2009. It’s more of a talent deal than a service acquisition, as the 12 FriendFeed staffers have already moved into Facebook.com office space. Facebook needs the expertise that the FriendFeed team already has. See the official FriendFeed announcement called FriendFeed accepts Facebook friend request for more details. TechCrunch has a fun article with pics from the actual closing of the deal at Pics: The Facebook/FriendFeed deal signed under the cover of night.
I’ve read several rants from angry FriendFeed users who feel betrayed by this deal. For an example, see Shawn Farner’s article called Stabbed in the back by FriendFeed.
I’ve also seen some well-written responses, including:
- This article by Louis Gray called Hi Facebook, it’s me, FriendFeed. This relationship? It’s complicated.
- This ReadWriteWeb article by Marshall Kirkpatrick called Is a Perfect Storm Forming For Distributed Social Networking?
- This nicefishfilms.com article by Michael Sean Wright called FriendFeed Accepts Facebook Friend Request — What Now?
As much as I’ve enjoyed using FriendFeed, I knew the company would be acquired eventually and the FriendFeed service would probably disappear. FriendFeed.com was a real-time demonstration of social media aggregation and messaging — and Facebook finally made their bid.
I’d have preferred to see FriendFeed acquired by Google — a logical move as several FriendFeed executives were Gmail alumni.
But I’m happy that Facebook didn’t buy Twitter. While Twitter.com is unstable, brown to spam attacks and in desperate need of adult supervision, Facebook management should not waste time and energy on fixing Twitter.
The hype cycle for microblogging is also headed towards a downturn, according to Gartner’s analysts and this article called Twitter: It’s all downhill from here.
Image courtesy of jose.armenteros on Flickr via Common Commons license.