How Brands Will Use FriendFeed

While I’m not a Friendfeed zealot like respected Steve Rubel, I’m seeing an opportunity for Friendfeed to help corporations further their social media efforts.

If you’re not familiar with the Social Media Press Release (SMPR), it’s a process/document that helps press releases to not only carry the traditional content (who what when where why and how) of a company announcement, but it also provides links and assets to social media: blogs, images, videos, tags, etc.

[Currently, Social Media is disparate and fragmented, making the conversation difficult to track, find, and use. Although too early for it’s time, the Social Media Press Release, will reincarnate as Friendfeed]

Alone, the social media press release isn’t an effective use of being in the spirit of social media, it’s somewhat devoid of the humanness and resulting conversation that many expect. However, full-blown announcements that contain quit a bit of images, blog posts, videos, and social networking campaigns require an ability to organize, and keep track of the disparate conversation.

SMPR too early

I’m the recipient of dozens of press releases every week, so I’m very familiar with what to expect, and frankly, haven’t seen a single SMPR since I’ve been an analyst since Oct, 07 submitted to me. You can however view Ford’s Social Media Press Release room called “Digital Snippets“, as one interpretation. Update: Inventor Todd has a small, but growing list on his site.

The good news for the pioneers of the SMPR (smart folks like Todd Defren, Brian Solis, Chris Heuer) of the Social Media Press Release is that they were way ahead of the curve, they really had foresight to how corporate communications were going to change. The bad news is they were too early, and adoption hasn’t yet happened.

[Brands will use Friendfeed like a Social Media Press Release, to aggregate their social assets, and then to spur on a conversation]

How it could look

Fortunately, there’s good news at hand, with social aggregation tools at hand, such as FriendFeed, a brand can create a Friendfeed account and easily consolidate all the assets from one location. What would this look like? A brand like Ford could create a Friendfeed account, submit to the various social services (Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, Delicious, and over 30 others), then encourage fans of Ford to either follow that public Friendfeed page, or to become actual ‘friends’. The end result? All the social media assets will be viewed from one location, searchable, findable, with the ability to comment, without using a SMPR.

Many brands will get it wrong, it’s not just publishing

The one caveat is that brands will need to be part of the discussion that happens among these social tools, as what’s really important is the people that are talking, debating, and discussing what your company is announcing. For those that get it wrong, no one will subscribe, no one will talk about it, no one will ‘like’ it and spread it to their network. So be active in the comments, conversations, and an open manner.

I’ve not seen a single brand do this, but it’s what I expect to see in the coming months, let’s see if my prediction will come true.

Related Resources on Friendfeed:

  • You can find me on Friendfeed, “Jowyang”
  • Start Here: What Friendfeed’s “MicroMeme” Means For You, Brands, and The Web
  • TrendWatch: Comparing MicroMemes (Friendfeed), Network Feeds, and MacroMemes
  • Update: Todd has responded from his blog, although disagrees on adoption.

    Update 2: Ford has adopted Friendfeed as a form of the SMPR

    71 Replies to “How Brands Will Use FriendFeed”

    1. Hey there Jeremiah,

      Interesting angle. I’m always up for trying something new. I’ve got a dozen or so releases on the go at the moment so perhaps I’ll see if one could be formatted to try the Friendfeed idea. Stay tuned.


    2. Hi Jeremiah,
      in my opinion the SMPR model is still ahead of it’s time. Having a look at it from Germany I can’t see much being done in means of social media. This might also be a result of how marketing is seen in companies and how PR and marketing are organized. In marketing I know many companies who call a marketing sceme a “plane marketing campaign” although we would perhaps already see social aspects in it. So few people are giving social media a thought and companys often don’t see the necessity of making structural changes as for example hiring a social media specialist.

      Best regards,

    3. Been trying to respond to your question on twitter but suspect you aren’t following me:

      my tweet for the record was: what do you mean by social media press release? sounds like a contradiction in terms to me!

      keep doing good stuff. dc

    4. I think this will definitely be true for many tech start ups, but I think we are more than a few months away from major brands doing this. Friendfeed (and many other web 2.0 services) hasn’t reached the tipping point where mainstream are using it and more important, relying on it. When that happens, then big companies will sit up and take notice. Until then, we’ll only see web 2.0 specific companies following your prediction.

    5. David Cushman

      Follow the links I left above to learn about the SMPR, yes it does seem like a contradiction.

      In Twitter, I don’t have to follow you to see when you’re replying to me.

    6. Don’t forget Chris Heuer, who played a huge role in pushing the SMPR. (I’ve never been terribly interested in it, but I think he was one of the originators.)

    7. Jury’s still out for me on this one. On paper it makes sense, but as always adoption is the all important factor. And of course target market.

    8. The other thing I’d add is the ‘noise factor’. With the proliferation of so-called 2.0 channels you get some really nice and discrete segments. Once you pull them all together (like FF), add advertising, add commercial announcements, PR’s , monetize et al. it starts to lose the original value proposition. That’s just for me personally as ‘pioneer’ persona rather than a settler/colonist.

      A FF-like service, but niched for SMPR’s would be good I think.

      I mean, look at what has happened to twitter as propaganda machines latched onto it. Barack, Hillary, Gordon Brown, Number 10 Downing St… gets really noisy… then it just breaks.

    9. We have a version of social media release on the FedEx Newsroom – Problem with using FriendFeed is that it’s dependent on having your audience be apart of the community. Which is great for companies who have a sizable fan base in FF.

      I hope the argument is for brands to have a presence in these communities and reposting news then engaging in conversation.

    10. Social Media aggregation plays a huge role in providing a great snapshot of your brand. Friendfeed , like other social media tools, is only as good as the conversations held in, on or around it. Smart brands/organizations that hold relevant conversations could benefit from a friendfeed link integrated into their blogs/press contacts etc.

      Great thoughts Jeremiah.

    11. Good thoughts, certainly, J. I don’t agree that FriendFeed will replace the SMPR. In fact, I think the SMPR will just become the press release or media engagement piece of the future. FriendFeed is powerful and robust in comparison to other aggregators. But it’s also framenting the conversations more. I don’t respond to people who reply to my blog posts on FriendFeed. Not because I don’t want to or because I’m being rude to them, but because I don’t go to FriendFeed that often. When I found several comments there the other day, I was a little frustrated. I want to respond and engage, but I don’t want to get in the habit of doing it in several different places.

      If FF starts to take away engagement on people’s blogs, I think there will be a backlash from the bloggers, who frankly dictate the popularity of such tools.

      While I certainly see where you’re going with the notion that FF can take some of the resource aggregation and compilation in a more nimble fashion from the SMPR, I don’t see brands incorporating it soon or often. The lack of at least design will be an impediment. Brands are just now starting to see that letting go of the message and even the digital resources is good. But giving up branded environments and aesthetics because an aggregation tool is powerful? I don’t think so.

      I see the SMPR moving beyond the social media realm and becoming a digital resource for all media on a specific brand or topic … almost a blend of the online newsroom and a press release with multimedia, sharing and conversation baked in. If FF becomes the tool that makes that happen, then I guess you’ll ultimately be correct, but I don’t see that happening for a while.

    12. Jason

      I expect future versions of FF to aggregate conversations, such as comments from your blog. Everything is portable.

      In fact, Twitter replies show up and can be tweeted from FF, so it’s already happening.

      While yes, the web will be amorphous and ubiquitous, tools like FF will be needed to aggregate.

    13. I completely agree with Falls on this one. In addition, the SMPR allows for comments specific to that release subject. FF can show a companies lifestream, what they’re doing in the blogsphere, etc., but it isn’t a delivery method for assets that media need- not social media assets, but REAL assets like high-res reproducible photos, b-roll and video quotes, as well as the ultimate in PR contact options ie, IM, Skype, cell phone.

      SMPRs are not going to be passed over, they haven’t even really been tested. The hang-up has been the hurdles for the average PR firm or brand to produce one. PitchEngine is changing all that…more to come on that, soon.

    14. Hi Jeremiah –
      We think more alike than not. I’ve always advocated for the SMR to become “like a (multimedia-heavy) blog post” – where conversations about individual news items are aggregated (via trackbacks/pingbacks) and promoted (via comments at the site, SEO, etc.).

      All in all, you raise very interesting points: I feel like a dummy for not connecting the dots from the SMR to FF. I’ll ponder some more and try to respond at my own blog this week, rather than spew in your Comments section.

      I appreciate your thoughts on this topic: thanks!

    15. P.S. Meanwhile, there has been plenty of experimentation with SMRs, though adoption is a longer-term process. Everyone from Cisco to Gatorade has taken a crack at it.

      Keep in mind that the current press release is 100 years old vs. the SMR, which just turned 2 years old. These things take time, but I do believe that the SMR approach will prove to be on the right side of history.

    16. Todd

      Don’t beat yourself up bud, you’re a smart cookie!

      The difference between SMPR and FF is that FF is conversation ready. SMPR isn’t. At least from my perspective.

      Secondly, there’s a thriving community standing by, already conversing.

      Looking forward to seeing this whole space evolve, regardless of the tool adoption.

    17. SMPR aside, let’s not forget that the purpose of any press release is to tell a good story, so even with all the gadgets, which are useful to bloggers and others, they need to be integratable to get the “right” message. As you say, aggregating the message into something like FriendFeed could be a better use of priceless design time, so there is a suggestion of a story to create a “pull” strategy rather than a “pull” strategy. There certainly needs to be more analytics offered as Jason mentions because it’s tough to gauge how well received your content is and measuring results is already such a huge pain point for so many marketers.

    18. Todd, I think the URL you meant to include is this: — the period a the end of your TinyURL breaks it.

      Jeremiah, even though “Everything is portable,” as you say, everyone is still scrambling for ownership. Publishers that can’t keep conversations going next to their ads will continue to lose the revenue that pays for the content spurring so many of the comments.

      My idea (at least I haven’t heard of it before) is comment co-ownership. I haven’t the foggiest idea how to create the code that would enable this, but it seems as if RSS, RDF and XML hold some promise for a savvy programmer to wrap each comment with metadata that other services can find and use. Trackbacks meet Creative Commons licenses — or something to that affect.

      I too a stab at composing my thoughts here — — as well as FriendFeed, and Twitter, wondering where (if anywhere) this idea would spawn further conversation.

      On days I feel like the tool of my tools, I secretly wish Google would come along and buys up every last startup, mash them together into a single service, and allow us to get back to work.

      Meanwhile, I’ll try — like most of your readers, I’d assume — to just keep my head above these waters. Thanks for the life jacket.

    19. Hi Jeremiah, thanks for the great thinking. In my view, I see the SMR existing now and in the long term as it moves from the left to the right of the bell curve. I’m using them quite often and seeing great success. There are many stories like that out there. In fact, I’m just returning from a trip where I spoke specifically about how to use the SMRs to a roomfull of traditional PR pros – it’s growing.

      I see FriendFeed complementing SMRs. One interesting thought would be to use FriendFeed as a replacement for a traditional blog RSS feed that media and customers would usually subscribe to. One feed will offer an aggregated brandstream that shares all content across every network with channeled conversations.

      We still need to do that video btw!

    20. Social Media release has value, primarily as “Google Juice.” So instead of reinventing the wheel, take existing regular old PR, add lots of links (where appropriate), clickable images/audio/vide, whatever and put a summarized more conversational version on the corporate blog. So you get even more “Google Juice” by letting it live on the blog.

      So traditional release with a few links on the Wire, “social” media release with all the social bells and whistles on the corporate blog.

      Mike Lizun

    21. LOL Kawika… “On days I feel like the tool of my tools, I secretly wish Google would come along and buys up every last startup, mash them together into a single service, and allow us to get back to work.”

      I wonder how many people feel that way (or have felt that way)?

      I have, I must confess.

    22. I am working with a social media site that in about a month will help brands understand why they need social media. The big question is always,” how does this tie to sales.” When that is answered, things will open up more.

    23. Speaking of social media press releases you over looked the most recent one done by Jim Beam for their new site “The Stuff Inside.” The social media press release can be found here This is probably the best I’ve seen so far.

    24. Pingback:
    25. I recently attended a talk by Charlene Li of Forrester research. She said social media few years from now will be like air, it will be numerous and everywhere. That indicates a service like Friendfeed will be badly needed for aggregation. I can easily see companies using such a service for PR.

    26. I would like to see a secure, enterprise-ready version of FriendFeed to make the brand better internally before pushing it externally as a support/marketing tool.

    27. Friendfeed is an ingenuous service, i just joined up today and im pleased with its many facet and feed integration.Coming from and being in Africa,i must say thats how effective and how far reaching this service will be!

    28. Hi Jeremiah,

      Thoughtful and erudite post! You are right of course that consolidation (or aggregation) of social media will be necessary for effective message management.

      So services such as FriendFeed are important and will continue to evolve as competitors emerge.

      However, this trend overlooks one of the fundamental purposes of social media, to enhance connectivity among groups that share specific concerns or interests. So the need to consolidate is opposed by the trend to fragment.

      Your colleague Charlene Li has written around this topic, and I wrote about it in my blog a couple of months back.

      My sense here is that one size can never fit all. FriendFeed will serve a purpose and some businesses may use it in place of SMPR. However, in other cases, such as B2B, SMPR will remain necessary, particularly in more fragmented markets.

    29. Re. the Ford Friendfeed … sorry to see that it falls into the category you describe, Jeremiah, of “brands that will get it wrong”. The conversation part is obviously the most difficult one. The rest is just hard work and a little technical proficiency – aka “publishing”.

    30. Hi Jeremiah,

      Looks like we need to make better use of our
      Friendfeed account. That’s a great way to stay
      Connected and to Save Time. Social Media that
      makes sites like Twitter.Com a greater Tower of
      Communications in Conversation is a greater day
      of blessings. Be Blessed always…Peace!

    31. Hi Jeremiah –

      Pandora has been using FriendFeed, though we’ve mostly just stuck our big toe in to test the waters.

      Twitter, on the other hand, has been a *fantastic* resource for us. I have lots of great dialog with listeners happening every day over there, some public, some private:

      In terms of social media sites, we can also be found here:

      Thanks for reading, and more importantly, for writing! : )

      Lucia Willow
      Pandora Community Manager
      (lucia AT

    32. Jeremiah,

      I took your advice (partly) and integrated a Friendfeed widget on our Social Media Newsroom ( I know we are still not there 100% with the conversation and the interaction (although we are doing this more and more with our corporate blog), but as we are getting to know the tools, and work with them, it is a process that will definitely culminate with more engagement. My view is that it is better to take the small steps that can get easy support in the organization first, and grow toward becoming an online “social” player, than to wait to have everything in place at once, and gather all the support for all the changes in one go.

      I also wanted to point out that Twitterfeed has also been an invaulable tool for social aggregation on twitter, and it works also similarly to Friendfeed.

    33. Here at CineVegas we have strived to be very active on the various social media sites available. Even to go as so far to have site specific content (i.e. special videos made exclusively for YouTube):

      All of the above are then brought into friendfeed including Google Shared Items that pertain to film:

    34. I just launched a FriendFeed for myself/the book publishing imprint I run. I can’t claim it is quite an SMPR, since mostly what one seeks to sell in book publishing are individual books, but the stream of info does, I think help readers get context on the individual books. And books are identify-affirming products, more than most, so it helps the individual sort out what reading a Soft Skull book might say about them…

    35. hey Jeremiah,

      Currently, FF and most of social media is an optional choice when it comes to serious business, and branding is serious business. Because of overwhelming amount of youngsters embarking on all things web2.0 and with social sites like Facebook, most of other social media like FF are lumbered into the same group with Facebook and dubbed “wasters of time” or “entertainment and communication for fun.”

      One has to change the paradigm surrounding social media in order to put some serious business on it. Yes, of course, there are early adopters and businesses going online but FF is still too much associated with either tech-savvy people’s daily exchange of info or tech kids talking to each other.

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