Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Revisiting Facefeed, and the engagement issue

Louis Gray used Google Reader to share a post by Jorge Escobar entitled FriendFeed’s Lifecycle: A Story of the Modern Startup. While discussing FriendFeed's declining user numbers, Escobar made the following observation:

The question we, as FriendFeed fanatics ask ourselves is why? Why is a product that is so unique been left for dead all of a sudden.

One camp would point to the Facebook announcement. Who wants to spend time and energy on a satellite service, knowing that the resources are aligned with the parent company. This is interesting because it would tell a lot about user’s behavior in this Real Time Web: they want a product that evolves, even though the product is perfectly fine....

But why?

If the product or site or service does what it advertises, why does it have to keep development on a frantic race to over-development?

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that I previously cited another potential reason for FriendFeed's declining numbers - not because of a cessation of innovation, but because of the feelings of jilted betrayal that some users felt when cute little FriendFeed sold itself to big giant (and therefore evil) Facebook.

Short-time readers of this blog will remember that I just wrote something about engagement, noting that there are sites that have truly engaged their users.

I was thinking of both of these posts when I replied at Escobar's post:

Jorge, I found this post via a Louis Gray share. Back on August 12, a few days after the announcement of the Facebook acquisition, I postulated that the relationship of some users to FriendFeed was like the first love of a high-schooler, and that when Facebook acquired FriendFeed, many of the FriendFeed users felt “betrayed” and “jilted.” Perhaps my analysis was incorrect (although I personally still believe it’s true), but there’s no denying that people want to be engaged (and I don’t mean this in the marital sense) with the software services that they are using. For whatever reason, fewer and fewer people are finding the FriendFeed experience to be engaging.

Those are my initial thoughts. What are yours? Perhaps this is a topic for...the Ffundercats.
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