April 06, 2009, 7:50 AM — At 9:00 am Pacific today, FriendFeed is rolling out...something. A redesign of its service that they showed to a handful of journalists last Friday. All weekend these anointed FriendFeed faithful have been teasing the big reveal, with (of course) Scoble leading the pack. In a comment on a hyperbolic and content-free Steve Gilmore post, Scoble said of the new FriendFeed: "It’s new. Shiny. And takes the microblogging world forward in a compelling new way." Yeah, thanks.
We'll see what the fuss is about in a few hours (and will probably be underwhelmed) but the deliberate building of hype about this update really bothers me. Why are these "internet superstars" spending so much time marketing a service like FriendFeed? Is it for bragging rights; just a way to make sure everyone knows they were in the small group that FriendFeed showed the new features to? Or are they on the payroll? It certainly doesn't scream "journalistic integrity" but perhaps Robert Scoble and Steve Gillmor don't consider themselves journalists, but rather technologists? Or maybe FriendFeed really has something that is so paradigm breaking that they can't control themselves.
I also wonder if all this hype will backfire on FriendFeed. I'm already pre-disposed to not liking the changes since I'm so darned sick of hearing about them without being told what they are. I'll admit I've never really grokked FriendFeed. I treat various social networking services as separate communities. For instance, on Facebook I talk to old school friends from my home town, and I'm absolutely certain they wouldn't care about the things I talk about on Twitter or my personal blog. And vice versa. Aggregating all my various ramblings into FriendFeed just makes me look unfocused and I can't even imagine the 'ideal reader' who would take value out of reading my FriendFeed stream.
Anyway, I can admit I'm curious to see what changes FriendFeed has to offer. And I'm even more curious to see if the few people who've been promoting the change all weekend will continue to be so enthusiastic about it after all us little people know what's going on. A little over four hours to go now until the high priests of the internet lose their FriendFeed exclusivity.