Tips for Real Time Web working on new friendfeed

Here’s some tips I’ve learned after using the new friendfeed for a while:

1. Turn it off. There’s no way to be productive doing something else while the stream is moving and distracting you. Two ways to turn it off: 1. close the browser. That’s brute force method. 2. Push the “pause button” at the top of the feed. That will keep it from moving. You can then refresh the page to see more items, or push play when you want to start seeing new items again.

2. You can “stun” the feed by mousing over it. That will slow it down for a few seconds.

3. Make sure you put a picture in and fill in something about yourself. Click on “settings” at the top right of the page.

4. If you’ve followed more than about 400 people, your feed will probably move too fast (mine is moving too fast) so you’ll want to create more lists and move people you’re following into separate lists (they act like folders). This way you can have “noisy jerks” in a separate folder from “family members” and they can be separate from “people I work with.”

5. Buy more screen realestate. Not just for friendfeed either. I just picked up a new screen just to run friendfeed and it makes it a LOT easier to track a bunch of different lists and rooms and filters.

6. Learn to make a filter. You do that by first searching for something. Try searching for, say, “Earthquake Italy” since there was a pretty big earthquake in Italy yesterday. Now, click “make a filter.” Add some conditions. I only want to see items that have at least one like. That’s the good stuff, according to Bret Taylor, co-founder of friendfeed. Here, now see the filtered result. Note that it’s similar to what you can do over on but that instead of only Tweets the enw friendfeed includes all sorts of interesting data types. The filtering will change over the next few weeks. There’s a lot of power under the hood that’s hard to get to. For instance, you can set it to only show you YouTube videos or only show you Tweets, but getting to that is pretty difficult right now.

7. Learn that everything is a feed and you can subscribe to it. Here you can see Louis Gray’s likes and you can follow just those, without following his comments or his other items.

8. Learn about how to hide and other things. If you are new to friendfeed I did a video about 20 things you need to know on friendfeed here.


What I hate about real-time web (your productivity goes to hell)

For the past 12 hours I’ve had friendfeed running, along with another secret tool that’s coming in May that shows me news updating in real time, and another screen is running Tweetdeck here.

This is powerful stuff, I can talk with the world and see reactions coming in live. We’ve turned the Web from something that took weeks to discover new sites to a big chat room that pushes items at you in crazy fast manner and moves them down the screen.

More and more geeks are complaining to me that they can no longer keep up with Facebook, Twitter, friendfeed, and all the other things.

Linda Stone defined this problem as continuous partial attention.

I think it’s worse than that. Continuous partial inattention. I dare you to open up the new friendfeed in a window next to your work, point it at the aggregation of all the people I’m following, and try to get any work done.

Now, some of you are saying “well, unfollow.” But there’s something interesting for me in seeing all sorts of little conversations that hundreds or thousands of people are having.

The thing is I +can’t+ unfollow. Why not? You might say I’m addicted. Better people than me already have.

But there’s no going back for me. I will not give up this new world.

That means that we need new skills to deal with this new world.

One new skill? We now will share filters. I shared one with you in another post. Yesterday there was a big earthquake in Italy. Here’s a filter to help you find all the news about it. You can write me filters that will bring other things to my attention that I might miss in the stream of noise.

Other skills? We’ll need to build new news aggregation sites, like the “trending” feature on Twitter Search or Techmeme that will find the news “needles” in the stack of noise “hay.”

But right now we’re entering a period of transition. One where some of us will not be able to cope. Or we’ll be sucked in so deeply that we suffer career or family consequences. I’m struggling with the balance here myself.

I don’t know the answers here, other than to know that this new world does have its problems.

New friendfeed: Twitter that moves? Facebook filtering before Facebook?

Techcrunch has it up. Go see the new version. It’s wild.

More details coming shortly.

What I like about it:

Display is quite different, it no longer shows icons of aggregated services but instead looks more like Twitter.

Real-time. It’s all realtime.

You can direct message people who are following you.

There’s greatly improved filtering and searching.

There’s now a profile page.

You can now remove people’s entries from filtered display with Gmail like operators.

They’ve rethought the friendfeed rooms and made them more useful.

There’s a simplified API coming.

You can subscribe to likes and comments separately now as feeds.

I have videos of the friendfeed announcements that are uploading now. They will be up by noon at

UPDATE: Thomas Hawk has his review up here. The new version will be up on soon (within minutes).