Marshall McLuhan (a Canadian) coined the phrase "the medium is the message" to describe that the profound impact of television and other media on society was more important than the impact of the content itself. Recently, a lot of discussion has been taking place about FriendFeed‘s noise versus its signal. I contend that the impact that FriendFeed has on the Social Web is greater than that of the content it aggregates. Excuse me as I coyly coin the phrase: “FriendFeed is the signal.”
The Change in Community Interaction
FriendFeed is changing the way bloggers and readers of blogs interact with each other. This phenomenon, recently named Blogging 2.0, is becoming more and more widely accepted; however, there are some who choose to remain in Blogging 1.0. Just last night there was a discussion on where the conversations should take place and whether or not the blogger should have control over them, as summarized by Colin Walker. Distributed conversations are here to stay and FriendFeed is the big culprit. All content aggregated into FriendFeed can be "liked" or commented on by users with a simple click, compared to the regular blog post system of commenting where a user must Enter Name, Enter Email, and Enter Website to leave a comment. Users have to then return to the post to see other comments and possibly repeat the process again.
This is not only true for blogs, FriendFeed also affects interactions with other media such as photos and video, albeit less dramatically. The sharing of images and videos are all on the rise due to the increased “favouriting” of Flickr photos and YouTube videos and use of the FriendFeed bookmarklet. While the “favourite” function has pre-existed in Flickr and YouTube, FriendFeed spreads the reach of this content on a much higher level.
The "Global Village"
FriendFeed nurtures what McLuhan called the "global village", or what Robert Scoble calls, "The Worldwide Talk Show". It’s where everyone from everywhere can participate in the conversation and make it visible to everyone else. FriendFeed allows your commented-on content to be shown to others in your network, whose commented and liked stories are made visible to others in their network…etc. FriendFeed has allowed me to be influenced by a wide variety of people, and vice versa, in a way that not even Twitter has allowed.
The Bottom Line
Duncan has addressed this in a recent post about Blogging 2.0 and Advertising. He states that for the most part the Blogging 1.0 ad models are still around; however, he expects more Blogging 2.0 solutions to emerge this year.
What do you think? What other potential effects will FriendFeed have? What advertising models can work in this new landscape?