FriendFeed – How to use it to track the chatter

A major up-and-comer in the internet startup and social media space has been FriendFeed, the lifestreaming service that allows you to track what your friends are doing on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, and the blogosphere. Unfortunately, most of your friends are probably not using FriendFeed, at least yet. But that doesn’t mean that FriendFeed isn’t very, very useful. I’m going to talk about the usefulness of FriendFeed as a social media organizer in a future post, but this time I want to talk about how to use FriendFeed to follow the chatter, the buzz, and even mentions of your company or blog (or of yourself).

FriendFeed is the ideal place to track all of those mentions. The first key to Friendfeed is its importing of activity all across the internet. I can find out what, oh, social media expert Muhammad Saleem is Digging or I can find out what the hell top blogger Robert Scoble is up to (wait, why do I care again? Oh yeah, he sets trends).

The second key thing that FriendFeed does is create conversations around some of these major pieces of information. To the left is the beginning of some search results I did for Obama. There’s at least 13 comments/conversations and growing for that single link alone. Tracking the entire conversation on Obama gives you an even greater picture of what people are thinking, although I admit that it’s a tech-saavy, early-adopting crowd. Regardless, these people set trends and you want them setting trends for you or your blog in a positive direction.

Some things you can do to track the chatter:

  • Add trend setters to your FriendFeed. Scoble may be annoying at times (sorry Robert, it’s true!), but he is at the pulse of a lot of trends. Follow the top bloggers and trend setters in your industry to gain a better picture of what is happening.
  • Track non-users of FriendFeed: Another brilliant feature of FriendFeed is the ability to track people who aren’t even on FriendFeed via “imaginary feeds”. If your favorite Digger is NOT on FriendFeed, you can just input his username as an imaginary feed and you’ll get his updates in your FriendFeed. Perfect if you don’t want to track too many websites in the social media space.
  • Search! FriendFeed has a search option now, and you should utilize it to the best of your ability. Keep track of mentions of your blog or mentions of your competitors.
  • Join Relevant Rooms. Rooms are basically conversation hubs within FriendFeed. I’m in the Social Media and All Things Productivity Rooms. With them, I can follow conversations on my favorite and important subjects along with others who know a thing or two about each subject. I think it’s best if you make sure conversations from your rooms appear in you main feed.
  • Add every service you use! The more you appear on other FriendFeeds, the more you raise your profile and the more interesting conversations you will start. Import your blogs and social websites at the least.
  • There’s much more to FriendFeed than that. And it’s a new service, meaning many more features are coming. If you do things right, you can make FriendFeed your entire hub for social media and internet chatter tracking.

    – Ben