The internets are buzzing with the news that social media darling Friendfeed has been acquired by Facebook. For those of us who use Friendfeed, it is a time of concern; will Friendfeed persist as an ongoing concern? Will it disappear into Facebook? Will it become something unrecognizable? Right now it is too early to say.
My analysis however, is that it doesn’t matter.
Each social media service has different strengths, weaknesses, and targeted capabilities. Friendfeed has a passionate, engaged community of early adopters that are enthusiastic about it’s core aggregation, filtering and messaging capabilities. Many of them are in mourning today.
They shouldn’t be.
I think the natural and understandable grief that comes from the potential of losing the community is obscuring the fact that in the end, what made the community possible was:
- a set of features (aggregation, filtering, messaging)
- real-time access to those features.
I believe that each of these two components will survive, thrive, and grow beyond what we currently can conceive—either as Friendfeed, Facebook or dozens of other forms. Web companies are in essence lab experiments. A problem is identified, an approach is hypothesized, and a solution is attempted. Friendfeed was one lab. There are, and will be countless others.
Of course, the mourning arises out of the community, not the features. In the instance of Friendfeed, the community has been formed. It (believe it or not) is not reliant on the technology. If the community matters, it will find plenty of other ways to connect and engage—there are no shortage of tools. The community simply needs to acknowledge it’s own power and take self ownership.
Knowing the people that comprise this community, I have no doubt that they will.