Thursday, May 22, 2008

SOCIAL: Aggregation & Syndication

Centralizing and Syndicating Your Online Life

It's beginning to look like 2008 might be the year of the social aggregator as users begin to employ these emerging new tools to better manage and track their various online relationships, both personal and professional. The introduction of these new Web applications, such as Friendfeed, Socialthing!, Spokeo, Second Brain, and Iminta, are making it easy for users to keep track of what their friends are doing online while simultaneously demonstrating that there are compelling alternatives to being social online without having to, say, actively maintain a Facebook account. In fact, that's the very premise of this new type of social Web utility, which automatically tracks a user's public activity at sites around the Web including blogs, Flickr, Twitter, and so on, and creates a single convenient feed for others to consume and track.

I've been evaluating a number of these applications over the last few weeks and so far Friendfeed seems to be one of the best offerings in this space and also supports one of the widest array of online services, with Socialthing a close second. Friendfeed currently monitors and aggregates one's social activity on 28 different services at the time of this writing, putting the result into one clean activity stream with a matching Atom feed. While the latency on some of the services Friendfeed tracks isn't always great -- bookmarks seem to take a good long while to show up for example -- the integration ranges from the workable to the robust, with surprisingly good support for Twitter's hashtags for example. Services you also might not have previously considered aggregating socially are also offered by Friendfeed including your Gmail status message, Netflix rental queue, and your LinkedIn activity.

Darn, Just when we thought we were catching up with all the paradigms. ...


indiekid said...

Michael, thanks a lot for your mention of Socialthing! We always like to see when our users mention us.

I'll admit, sometimes it's a lot easier to be in 2nd. Obviously there's catching up to do, but what it does say to us is that there's still an absolute importance to exist, and that there's people still using it on a regular basis.

We've taken the last two months and consumed all of the advice that we could, iterated on our product, and are about to release our next version, which will be leaps and bounds better than what was out previously. We hope that when we release it, you'll take a look and like what you see!

Let us know if it's not up to snuff for you when we get it out there...follow our blog for updates on the release!

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