While some people are rejoicing that Facebook offers the ability to import content into your feeds for your friends to devour, I tend to disagree with the hype. It’s my belief that by offering a limited set of feed imports, you are just hurting your own social network appeal.
Facebook. Have your been poked yet? Image Credit: BeFitt
FriendFeed was the response to the problem of disconnected feeds — by offering up to 35 different feeds to hook up into one. Well, folks, this isn’t something you can solve as users. Decisions like this are business. It will be up to various product managers to kick down the corporate barriers, shake hands and work together for users.
A while back, I shared my concerns about discombobulated network statuses, often causing confusion, pain, and non-usage of given features for users. Well, this entry is along the same lines.
Here is the realistic problem affecting all social network/media users:
I can’t post one message and expect it to broadcast to my social networks, telling my contacts what I am doing. I just want to check my e-mail and tell my friend’s that I’m out at the club but don’t have time. While I’m checking my e-mail, I’d like to see what they’re doing on Facebook or MySpace at the same time.
Here is the unrealistic fear from social network providers:
If users can post a message through Competitor A, they will not use our network. Non usage will result in lower engagement, lower page views and lower ad revenue. (Oh Nooooez!!1)
This fear is unrealistic. Sure, you might lose some users, but you are likely to gain users who like networks that behave together. Like, if I can link my statuses up with a new network, I just might use that network more often than one that I have to manually do it.
All it takes to enable users to do this is one call to a competitor and 2 hours of Dev work. The only thing stopping AOL from rebroadcasting status for MySpace users is money (rather, the fear of losing it). Friendfeed should have solved this, but doesn’t quite have any corporate backing from MySpace (Fox Interactive Media) or AOL (TimeWarner), yet.