25 January 2009

Give me more social interop!

I'm sure most people by now are like me and have a proliferation of accounts across social media sites: Twitter, Digg, Blogger, FaceBook, WordPress, FriendFeed, MySpace - the list is endless.

Fairly recently I signed up on FriendFeed, which does an excellent job of bringing all these together into one place and allowing you to do interesting things with the combined social stream. The developers are really active improving integration with other sites (especially Twitter), respond to feedback from the community, plus they sometimes come out with things like SUP which have much broader implications.

But it's not perfect. And it's mainly not their fault.

My main beef at the moment is around what happens if someone posts something that people then comment on. Say for example that Robert Scoble posts something an interesting article on his blog, which will then automatically appear on FriendFeed. FriendFeed does an OK job of spotting when someone else shares it on something like Digg or Google Reader it so it appears in their feed as well - it marks it as a related article of the original post. But where do you comment on the entry - in FriendFeed or in the blog? If you do it in FriendFeed then anyone not also on FriendFeed and subscribed either to you or to the author will not see it. If you do it in the blog then the comment doesn't make it to FriendFeed. The author has to keep track of multiple separate discussion threads across the original blog site and FriendFeed.

Open it up everybody!

So everyone needs to stop playing the "my site is the one true site" thing and accept that there will always be n sites catering to different audiences, but with some severe overlap. Now we're all thinking straight, open up the APIs for commenting/retweeting. If I comment in FriendFeed it should be added to the blog entry (maybe this should be an option for the author when they add their feed to FriendFeed). If someone comments in the blog entry then it should appear in FriendFeed (again an option for the author) and if FriendFeed knows my ID on the blog/Twitter/whatever, then it should match this up so it appears in my activity stream in just the same way as if I'd commented directly in FriendFeed.

How hard can that be? I don't even think there are commercial arguments against it, as surely this would just drive extra traffic to the sites because there would be more interesting discussions.

So FriendFeed developers please come up with a cool API for doing this, then everyone else please implement it so we can bring it all together.


Just spotted that when you comment in FriendFeed to someone else's Tweet then you have the option of also doing it as an @reply on Twitter. Good stuff - now what about the rest?

Update 2

It looks like using Disqus to manage your comments gives you some integration with FF, but I'm not sure yet if posting a reply in FF will come back as a comment...


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