In theory, FriendFeed is a service that should appeal to people who are enthusiastic about social media because it provides the ability to quickly get a broad snapshot of a person’s digital activity – everything from Twitter and Facebook to blog posts and Flickr.
In other words, it’s one-stop social media shopping.
The reality, however, is FriendFeed has limited appeal. If you take a look at data from Compete.com, you can see that Friendfeed’s traffic peaked a couple of months ago at about one million unique users (U.S) before dropping 10% in July.
This may be due to people taking summer vacation but it also suggests Friendfeed’s limited appeal. In many respects, Friendfeed is social media over-kill because it gives you the entire menu as opposed to separate “servings”.
For some people, an all-you-can-eat social media “buffet” is appealing but I think most people prefer less rather than more, which is why Twitter has resonated in such a major way.
This isn’t to suggest Friendfeed isn’t a useful or interesting service but perhaps that it serves a niche audience. This market reality and the absence of a revenue model made it difficult for Friendfeed to create a viable business. So, when Facebook came around with a takeover offer, it was probably difficult for Friendfeed’s founders (a group of ex-Google employees) and investors to turn down.
That said, Friendfeed as a feature within Facebook may thrive as it becomes integrated into the Facebook ecosystem and gets exposed to a new audience of 250 million users.
For more thoughts on the Facebook-Friendfeed deal, check out Social Media Today’s Paul Chaney. As well, Franklin Petitt has a good post looking at how Friendfeed introducing a lot of interesting features during its relatively short lifespan.