Even since I have been stalking my high school buddies on Facebook in 2004, I can remember the thrill I got inside: "Man, this site is addictive, and I don't see it going away any time soon".
As with any growing engine, you have to make sure it doesn't get too hot too fast, or it will bust. Facebook isn't at that point yet, but I get nervous when they shell out $50 million to acquire a company that is striving to do the same thing, but do it better. I get even more nervous when that smaller, better site becomes a ghost town, as MG Siegler puts it on Techcrunch.
I'm talking about Friendfeed, a site that has a great user experience for communicating with people and sharing rich content. They do a better job than Facebook when it comes to presentation and interactivity; ask anyone who uses the two regularly. Friendfeed does "real-time" better (I know, I hate that buzz word). Comments come in as they happen... but the problem is, no one is listening.
Everyone is hanging out on Facebook. No one uses Friendfeed anymore.
If someone comments on my Friendfeed page, I have no idea.
Social web pioneers like Scoble, Steve Gillmor, and Louis Gray used to swear by Friendfeed, but they aren't using it as much anymore.
I just hope Facebook's growing infrastructure can accommodate and integrate the brilliance that lives inside the brains of the Friendfeed engineers.
I hope Facebook can learn the following from Friendfeed:
- How to make the news feed breathe faster
- Make the Twitter integration more relevant by learning how to tag people mentioned in status updates
- Use the Tornado web server
- Learn how to make search real-time
I want Facebook to make the right decisions, but I'm a little worried. When Facebook acquired Friendfeed, why did someone quit?
Will Facebook inherit the "good parts" of Friendfeed without ruining the experience on Facebook that we are already addicted to? And where does that little blue Twitter bird fit in?
Let's hope Zuck can extract the special sauce from Friendfeed, and not eat it.