FriendFeed’s cultural evolution continues
All online communities — even the ones with the coolest features, the best ways to share information and media — are made up of people. And people (how many, overall “quality,” what they’re into, and so on) make or break communities.
And communities aren’t static; they evolve. That’s what makes watching and thinking about them so fascinating.
I was thinking about all of this while dialing up and down my RSS feeds last night. FPettit.com has a piece called Down with FriendFeed Etiquette that reminded me that as the popular social media platform-meets-smart people network grows, so must its online culture evolve.
Should you like the same item multiple times? Where should you comment on a story â€“ on the shared item or on the original blog entry (and that’s not even to mention clicking back to the source website to comment there!)? If someone subscribes to you, should you feel obligated to sub back? And so on.
These are all deeply geeky obsessions about a deeply geeky social media darling, of course, but they do remind us that online communities take on many of the same dynamics as “real” ones.
And just as communities may grow and flourish, if they don’t take steps to keep the majority happy while bringing in new members, they run the risk of stagnating or worse. For example, Duncan Riley chronicles his so called life after Techmeme, noting as parting shots that the popular memetracker isn’t in fact all that popular at all, bringing relatively few page views for even top-of-fold headlines, and that declining traffic may eventually turn off its core audience of tech “influencers.” (Mathew Ingram, for what it’s worth, doesn’t buy Riley’s assertion that he was kicked off of Techmeme due to a squabble with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.)
Meanwhile, Mike Fruchter wonders whether he’s following the right group of people on FriendFeed or if he’s isolating himself by sticking with the herd. This herd mentality thing seems to be on bloggers’ minds of late, as Steve Hodson cautions against falling into an echo chamber mentality on Twitter and FriendFeed.
Finally, for fun, check out this list of FriendFeed memes put together by Hao Chen which are meant to prove out why FriendFeed is going mainstream. My favorite: explanation of the new and bizarre bacon meme. “Wife was not amused” indeed.
If wacky memes aren’t the sign of a growing community, what is these days?