FriendFeed Appeals to Women, Too! [en]

[fr] Quelques commentaires sur FriendFeed, un nouveau service de lifestreaming. Et en réaction à une liste de "blogueurs élite" quasi entièrement masculine, allez -- une liste de femmes de mon entourage qui sont sur FriendFeed.

Scroll to the bottom of the post for The List.

Brian Solis on joins Louis Gray in commenting upon the fact that “elite bloggers” are joining FriendFeed in respectable numbers. FriendFeed is a lifestreaming service, which allows you to aggregate all your online presence and publications in one place.

The first such application I bumped into was Suprglu (just checked, it’s still running, wow!), two years ago. I was happy with it for some time, and then disappointed that it had too much of a lag (they didn’t have much resources, at least at the time).

Then came Jaiku, which I liked, but I never quite got used to the layout and the fact that only titles were posted. Tumblr entered my world at about the same time, and for a while, I wasn’t sure how to use both these tools without being redundant. I finally decided that Tumblr wasn’t for lifestreaming. At that point I was also on Facebook, and the newsfeed there was pretty nice as a lifestreaming service. Then the apps arrived and things started to get ugly — but I still like my newsfeed, particularly as it does some editing for me (selecting stories I’m likely to find relevant, based on a magic mix of criteria including my “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratings on existing newsfeed elements).

Lifestreaming has two purposes:

  • gather all my stuff in one place, so that I can point people to it
  • gather all the stuff of all my friends in one place, so that I can follow them all together (this is more presence-like).

For the first, nothing beats (to this day) Jeremy Keith’s lifestream in readability. I keep telling myself I need to grab the code and do it for myself.

For the second, I’m ambivalent. I like jaiku, but I find it not very readable. The Facebook newsfeed is more readable and is edited down to a readable amount of information, but not everybody is on Facebook, and it’s not public. FriendFeed is promising, in that it’s rather easy to set up, but I don’t find it very readable, and it would need some editing features (so I can filter out stuff manually, of course, but also some automatic editing which I could turn on and off).

So, I like FriendFeed. I wish they’d make it easier to add people, though. One quick example. Here is a screenshot of the listing of my “followers” (=people who have subscribed to me):

FriendFeed - People Subscribed to Me

There is no indication of if I’ve subscribed back or not. Compare with Twitter:

Twitter / People Who Follow stephtara

This, in my opinion, is a user interface problem that has been “solved”. If you create a new social tool, please don’t give us an interface which looks like it ignores existing solutions to obvious user headaches, like figuring out if you’re following back people who are following you (there is a higher chance that the people you want to follow will be amongst the people follow you already).

So, I’m looking forward to seeing where this will go. As such, I’m not actually using FriendFeed so much as sitting on it, waiting to see when it becomes usable.

Coming back to the two posts I mentioned at the beginning of this article, my initial reaction while going through the list of “elite bloggers” using FriendFeed was “hmm, I’m not in it”.

Well, of course. I mean, I’m quite lucid about the fact that all this blogging and online presence does have at stake (amongst other things) receiving a certain amount of recognition — and although I’m reasonably good at not letting this kind of motivation drive my activities. But it’s there, somewhere in the background. I’ve talked about this a lot in French, I realise — particularly in interviews I’ve given to the press and talks about blogging in general, but not much in English. Anyway, I’m not dwelling on this as it’s not my main point, but I always have this little secret hope (that I’m not overly proud of) that I’ll “make it” into this kind of listing. But enough with that.

My second reaction was: where are the women? Now, sorry to pull the whole “sexist” card — and those who know me are aware I’m far from a flag-carrying bra-burning feminist (though who knows, in another place and time, I might very well have ended up burning underwear in public) — but when lists of “influential/elite/top whatevers” show up and women are totally unrepresented in them, I think “ah, another guy who is mainly interested in what other guys have to say, and who might suggest at some point that we need to talk about the problem of ‘women in technology'”. (Nothing personal, Louis — this is more about my reaction than about who you are.)

So, in an attempt to encourage you to check out some of the women in my world which I have found on FriendFeed, here is a list of Some Women On FriendFeed. And yes, I’ve put myself in the list, of course. Oh yeah, this does have a taste of linkbait. But I won’t be offended if nobody picks it up. So, here goes.

Self-promotion: follow me on Twitter or FriendFeed and don’t forget to blog about Going Solo, or even register!

16 thoughts on “FriendFeed Appeals to Women, Too! [en]

  1. Thanks, Stephanie! I’ve long given up any thoughts about ‘ending up on one of those lists’. To be honest, I find many of the ‘elite bloggers’ rather boring! I’m much more interested in the bloggers who write about things other than technology or social media or what have you. People like: Tom Reynolds, works for London ambulance service; Little Red Boat who was one of the first bloggers I started reading in 2001; or Onionbagblogger, he lives a few minutes away from me, NeonBubble who is one of the funniest people around…

    I realised that I’d much rather be considered a ‘good writer’ than a ‘popular blogger’. They don’t often go hand-in-hand, so I do think one has to make a choice. So I’m working on the former and forgetting about the latter… 😉

  2. Excellent list! Susan did a great job pointing out the discrepancy I had in the first round of “elites”, which was obviously subjective. I know my RSS feeds are overweighted with the XY set, but I just don’t have the knowledge you have here. I actively looked for people like Kristen Nicole of Mashable, and didn’t find accounts, but I’m glad you did the work here. Over the last few days, I’ve thought a lot about doing more research and seeing what great women bloggers I’ve been missing out on. No slight intended at all, trust me!

  3. Louis: rest assured I didn’t think ill of you — I think it’s just a reasonably “normal” phenomenon (maybe we like reading people we can relate to, and one of the common traits we can have with somebody is gender). As I had a whole bunch of women in my network, I thought it’d be nice to share them!

    Gia: I like reading non-tech blogs too (Tom’s is one of the three-four blogs I read religiously). As for the list thing… well, it’s not something I dwell upon (not being included in lists) but I do find it slightly ironic that there is a real discrepancy between what people tell me about how they perceive me (very influent, etc) and what actually ends up happening when people decide to “round up” influent bloggers. (Somewhat related to the stuff I was talking about here.) In any case, I’m not getting any headaches or hives over these issues. I’m not striving to be popular at all costs (I’d honestly be doing a really bad job of it if I were), just sometimes a bit perplexed by certain aspects of this little blogging ecosystem.

  4. Thanks for the UI feedback – I agree with everything you said, and we should fix those issues soon. Thanks for taking the time to write such thoughtful feedback!

  5. Stephanie, I’d say it is a boys’ club, but I think they’re only influential to themselves.

    The Guardian recently published what they thought were the 50 Most Influential Blogs and though many of them are obvious inclusions, there were several ‘new’ ones which were nice to see on the list (eg The F Word). There were also some notable exclusions (eg Scoble). As most of the people reading that article aren’t in the blogging ‘clique’, the list provides a good cross of ‘popular’ and ‘good’ whilst staying away from the ‘oh-we’d-better-include-him-because-he’s-an-elite-blogger’ decisions we’re used to putting up with. 😉

  6. Thank you for speaking up. Its not just friendfeed that is ignoring the women. There are a lot of woman in technology and we need to get our voices heard too.

    BTW I am on there as well. I strive to be publicly influential one day. You know, beyond my company 😉

  7. Andrea: I don’t have the feeling that FriendFeed is ignoring women. My post was simply a reaction to a list of “representative reading” of a given blogger — and noting that there weren’t many women in it. That’s all.

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