Friendfeed for Beginners

There are a LOT of social media sites. Sites for bookmarks, sites for news, sites for chatting, sites for reviews. Video blogs, audio blogs, slide shows, your Netflix list, your Amazon.com wishlist…

This is why I’m a big proponent of Friendfeed, yet another social media site – a social media aggregator. It pulls together all of your other social media sites into one tidy area. If a site has an RSS feed, it can be plugged into Friendfeed.

Beyond the different ways it can be used to enhance your experience, I’m going to explain Friendfeed in a way that will be helpful for beginners. People just coming to social media now can be overwhelmed with everything that is going on with their new friends on all of these sites.

Friendfeed will not only collect the posts you create into one area, but it can be used to monitor all of the posts from other people using it. Since Friendfeed has its own RSS feed, you can plug this into a reader and get a constant flow of updates from the people you feel have the most useful things to say.

First, establish a new e-mail address for all of your social media doings. For this tutorial, I’m going to suggest you use Google for it’s personal page plug-ins that I will go into later.

Why do you need a new e-mail address though?As you go forward with several sites, you’re also going to get several notifications from them. New friends, direct messages, requests to look at someone’s something new and more will all come to this address. You can certainly use your current address, but you may find it difficult to deal with all of the new mail you’ll be getting. It can be especially difficult if you use a work email address, as you suddenly find notifications bundled up with more urgent messages. I find it’s simply easier to have a second e-mail address in place for them, and to check it when I go tooling around.

When you sign up, try to find a handle that you can use for all of your sites. This is the beginning of your social identity. I suggest something that isn’t necessarily your whole name, (which may be hard to find,) but something that defines you. Because my family is Italian and my name is Eric, I chose “Ciaoenrico.” That name was original enough it wasn’t already taken and I could register it most everywhere I went.

If you already have a username on Twitter, use that for everything else you sign up for. This will make it easier for people to know that you are you, whatever the site. Some sites, like LinkedIn or Facebook, require your actual name so don’t worry about this.

So now you’ve got your e-mail address. Next, go to Friendfeed.com and register your profile, again using your new “handle.”

Find a picture of yourself to use as your avatar. Like your handle, this should be used on every platform where one is asked for. Again, this makes you recognizable wherever you go.

Once you are registered, click on add/edit services. This is where you will enter the first site you frequent. I would start with Twitter, currently one of the largest “open” social networks in terms of user base.

Now when you go to your “home,” you should see all of your Twitter posts up to now. Each time you make a new post, Friendfeed will repost that information here. Once you’ve added more sites, they will also be listed in the order they are received.

There are currently 59 sites listed in Friendfeed for inclusion. If you belong to a site that isn’t listed, you can still include it if you know the RSS feed for your posts. Just select “Custom URL” from the list, and paste in the site’s RSS feed.

When you’ve done all of that, go back to your Google home page. If you’re still logged in, you should be able to just go to igoogle.com and it will be right there.

Click on “Add Stuff” to get to the Google Gadgets page. Search for “Friendfeed.” The first one up is the official plug-in and the one that you want. Click on, “add it now,” and go back to your home page.

Now your feed is visible every time you come back to your home page. You can come here to get updates on who’s now following you or messaging on your Twitter or Facebook or Linkedin, but you can also get a digest of what people are posting about – if they’re on Friendfeed too.

So you will want to start looking out for friends elsewhere that are also on FriendFeed. Or by doing searches on Friendfeed for subjects you are interested in.

By doing this, you will save yourself a lot of time in managing all of the social spaces you go to.

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