Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Facebook. Just another rss aggregator?

The bulk of activity I now see on my facebook newsfeed is gathered from other sources. In other words facebook is acting as an aggregator of stuff going on elsewhere. A bit like any other rss aggregator then?

Twitter updates bounced into facebook lead the way, followed by notes, imported from friends blogs (in both cases we're being treated to a one-way narrowcast - unless we make the effort to follow the link... actually come to think of it, we can comment on an imported note - but few 'in-the-know' would bother, since it's kind of a ghost version of the original - and you have to kind of figure the real conversation is going on back at the base! So facebook is the ersatz conversation!?).

Yes, of course many people update their status with a pure and simple filling in of the box (I know I do - and via mobile a lot... and in both cases that gets narrowcasted out to my minute band of twitter followers...)

In between there's a little bit of 'X has sent Y a gift' - yeah the real need-to-know stuff, invites to be a zombie or take part in a My Little Pony quiz.

I won't deny there is some valuable stuff. Some potentially very valuable stuff.
X has just joined Y group. I like those bits. That's the non-directed self-forming group bits, the bits where people can organise around a purpose and make things happen. Not a lot of this though.

And I begin to wonder if there's enough of the valuable stuff full stop. I wonder if there's enough of it to sustain the closed world of facebook in a disaggregating, widgetised world.

I'll tell you what I don't see much of. X is a fan of Y product or X has just bought Y product.

UPDATE Jan 16 2008: See comments below for more on this. I like what spokeo and latterly yahoo are aiming for: newsfeed from all your friends from all sources - but in an open way - treating the web as your newsfeed. When open takes on closed I know which I'll always place my money on! Read more from Harrison (aka twhman) at spokeo here.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?