Organizing it all – Socialthing & FriendFeed

So we now all now belong to all these social networks – facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter, jaiku, etc. How in the world are we now going to keep up with all of them? Do you have one instance of Firefox (or Flock — either one is cool enough for an EduGeek) with all tabs devoted to your social sites?

Or, have you stumbled across a social aggregator that can combine all of your social feeds into one friendly feed? So far, I’ve checked out two:

  • FriendFeed
    • Nice.
    • Easy to add services.
    • Seems to be a little slow in updating this morning.
    • Had a little difficulty adding my Jaiku feed, but working now.
    • Has 41 services you can import.
  • SocialThing!
    • Very nice!
    • Currently invite-only and still in beta.
    • Very nice interface and very easy to add service.
    • Currently only imports digg, facebook, flickr, last.fm, twitter, youtube, del.icio.us, pownce, and vimeo
    • They’re currently working on adding myspace, livejournal, and rss feeds, and you can vote to add services (jaiku currently has 522 votes).
    • Kind of shows threaded twitter discussions, which is nice.
    • Can easily reply to twitter and facebook posts through ST!
    • Shows that I have updates on my Firefox tab (my tab is now named ‘(2) Socialthing!’, telling me I have two updates)

So, right now, I’m going with ST! It’s the Jaiku to my Twitter. Cleaner. More user-friendly. Very promising. It doesn’t yet have all the services that FriendFeed has, but they’re working on it.

My questions for you: Have you used either or both? What do you think? Which do you prefer? Is there another social aggregator that is totally awesome that you can’t believe I haven’t mentioned?

Oh, and would you like an invite to Socialthing? I have one to spare. If so, post your email address in the comments, and I’ll send my one last invite your way!

Related Story:
2008 Killer Apps – Tools for Managing Multiple Social Networks

Katrina Adams
Howdy folks! I'm an Instructional Designer at UT Dallas. I have a Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Angelo State University and a Master's in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems from the University of North Texas. I've been working in edtech for 11 years. Hmm... what else? I'm a *huge* fan of that little Irish band called U2, and I'm a bigtime Firefly/Serenity advocate.

6 thoughts on “Organizing it all – Socialthing & FriendFeed

  1. You might want to look at friendbinder (http://friendbinder.com). You can also post to twitter and facebook from it and has the tab updating like ST (also summize do this). We also have support for RSS if you need a network we don’t support or you want to read blogs.

  2. Matt Crosslin

    I am now using both (thanks to your invite!). FriendFeed does have more supported sites, but to be honest – I use it to dump my own feeds from around the Internet in to one URL for my less tech-savvy friends and family to look at. I only head back every once and a while to see if a service I am using has been added.

    I keep SocialThing open in a tab in Firefox to keep up with my friends from other services. I love that. And, I like that I can post to those services, even reply to Twitter posts, right from the browser. I hope Jaiku services include that.

  3. Katrina Adams

    Thanks for recommending friendbinder. I’ll definitely check it out. Unfortunately, though, it’s a private beta and requires an invite, which I’ve requested. … You wouldn’t happen to have a spare invite, would you? Thanks again!

  4. Yes, I have sent you one. Just to point out that I run the site – I should have made that more clear. We are generally sending out invites within 48 hours.

  5. Katrina Adams

    Thanks for the invite, Richard! Friendbinder shows promise — I do have comments:

    • Initially, seems to have nice 3-step setup wizard; however, for some accounts you need to go back and configure each. I.e. I went through and added my accounts, including twitter, but when I tried to post to Twitter, it popped up a msg saying I needed to configure the account. It would be nice if for each account, as your adding it, it takes you through any needed configuration, authorization, and adding of friends.
    • Had a hard time figuring out how to add additional RSS feeds. You can easily add one during the initial setup wizard; however, in order to add another, you have to click the ‘You’ tab >> Your profile settings >> Add Networks to this list. It’d be nice if you could have this functionality from the ‘Networks’ tab as well as the ‘you’ tab.
    • Unfortunately, the process of adding additional RSS feeds took me completely out of that initial setup wizard, and I cannot seem to figure out how to get back to it.
    • It took me a while to figure out the Interest Level functionality. (However, you probably explain it in the setup wizard, and I just missed it.) You initially set all your friends to 3-stars (for example) out of a 5-star rating, then you can go through and give certain friends higher interest-levels than others. For example, EGJ would of course be a 5-star interest level, and my Jaiku posts would maybe be 4-stars. Well, you can then filter so it shows 4-stars or higher interest level friends only. I’m probably not explaining it well, but it’s a nice feature.
    • You can single out specific friends for easy cyber-stalking functionality. (And I mean that in a good way!) I.e. if I want to see what Matt’s been up to today, but I have too many social feeds coming in to glance through, I can click his name in the friends list and it filters to only show his activity.
    • I did notice earlier that you can directly reply to tweets, but I’ve somehow managed to make my tweets disappear from my stream. But I did see a ‘Reply’ link earlier — as soon as I get them back, I’ll test replying.
    • A little buggy, but hey – it’s beta!

    I think Friendbinder’s strong point is the filtering capabilities, while it’s lacking a bit in usability. Some work in that area, and it could be a definite alternative!

    Thanks again for the invite, Richard. Feel free to correct, comment, or point out anything I missed. ‘You’re *blind*, woman! Didn’t you see the [ABC] button that does what you needed????’

  6. Thanks for taking the time to look at our site.

    We have only been in private beta for about a month and some of the features you talk of were implement since then – so we are very actively working on site.

    In regards to the sign up – we are going to work on that to make it more straight forward and the same for the RSS feeds.

    Interest levels were designed on a per-person basis. The idea is that you have people in your life ranging from close friends to casual acquaintances. Close friends/significant others might be a interest level 5 and casual acquaintances might be a 1. By doing this you an ensure that you don’t miss anything that interest level 5 people say in the noise and if you are very busy at the time you can skip reading some of the lower levels, till later (if it all – sometimes there is just too much to read).

    We are working on usability, new features and some documentation. We have a blog at http://blog.friendbinder.com where we post updates about the site.

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