Aggregation is Creation: A podcast with the co-founder of FriendFeed

Check out the new podcast in the player on the left-hand column.

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to sit down with FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor. If you haven’t heard of FriendFeed, well, it’s been getting tremendous buzz this year as the next Facebookk, Twitter, or whatever. It hasn’t drawn a huge mainstream following, but like Twitter, it’s attracted a lot of hardcore, social media types.

What makes this (maybe) more than hype, though, is that the four co-founders all have strong pedigrees. Each spent time working at Google and made significant contributions. Taylor, for instance, was a product manager who helped launched Google Maps; Jim Norris was a software engineer who helped develop Google Maps; Paul Buchheit was one of the main engineers behind Gmail; and Sanjeev Singh also worked on Gmail.

FriendFeed launched a little less than a years ago. Essentially, it’s a place that aggregates all of your social media activity. As people join more and more social networks or Web 2.0 sites, they face a problem of tracking all their activity across all these platforms. FriendFeed tries to pull all of that together in one place. In a way, it’s like Facebook stripped of all the social networking tools (no profiles, for example). Instead, it solely focuses on the feed aspect.

What’s interesting though, is that users have decided its also a great spot to discuss their various pieces of content, a development that the founders had necessarily intended or expected.

“One thing we didn’t anticipate is that conversations would be a driver in the growth of our product,” Bret Taylor. “But it makes sense. One of the things you want to do when you discover something interesting is that you want to talk about it.”

I discussed the background of FriendFeed with Taylor and where he sees the service going next.

If you’re looking at new social media tools to try in your newsroom, then you should definitely sign up and try it out. I haven’t seen many newsrooms using it yet. Aggregation is one of the best things a newsroom can being doing to try involve its community. And FriendFeed is another interesting model for playing with that.

(Apologies, by the way, as there are a couple of hiccups in the audio. Time to get a new digital recorder, I guess).


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