Twitter vs FriendFeed

by Sachin Balagopalan on July 7, 2008 · Comments

Quite a bit of chatter on the blogosphere tonight on the issue of FriendFeed rapidly gaining “followership” over Twitter. Scoble, Arrington, and Calacanis have all made it to the top of the list on Techmeme (surprise! surprise!) with posts related to this. Scoble says it’s all about participation and Arrington thinks that Twitter’s scalability issues resulting in downtime is the reason FriendFeed is gaining traction. Calacanis on the other hand goes a step further and suggests that FriendFeed is way ahead in the features department and for Twitter to stay competitive it needs to not only scale but also roll out a bunch of features as well. There is one common theme however that stands out from these gentleman’s comments and that is Twitter and FriendFeed are competitors. They’re all of the opinion that the two services are directly in competition with each other. These guys are well respected in the blogging community (that’s why they’re on Techmeme and I’m not :) ) but I disagree with the fact that Twitter competes with FriendFeed and vice versa. IMO it’s like comparing apples with oranges

Twitter is a messaging service where you can broadcast a simple message to a group of followers. It’s a communication tool that enables you to directly “say something” to your followers in a simple and concise manner. Your followers can then reply or comment on your message. It’s a direct relationship between the communicator and communicatee (yeah I know that’s not a real word :) ). FriendFeed on the other hand is a different model. It’s a service that aggregates most of the social services including Twitter. The focus is not on direct messaging rather on consolidation and providing a central location for the user to stay in touch with their friends. However FriendFeed can be used for direct messaging as well but the intention is clearly aggregation.

So I don’t understand why there is this huge debate that pits the two services against each other when they are clearly two different animals. Perhaps it’s the afore mentioned A-listers along with a few others who are doing the “pitting” and the rest of us including myself consume it. I remember when I first signed up with FriendFeed I immediately liked it and still do (I set it up as my default homepage) but I did notice Scoble, Arrington and Calacanis along with a few other show up as “Popular FriendFeeders” and that I “might find their feeds interesting”. Hmmm…!


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