How Twitter, FriendFeed & Lifestreaming are Transforming the Web

Here’s a quote from Stan Shroeder from his story So, Is FriendFeed The Next Big Thing?

I can barely find time to comment on blog posts; why the hell would I comment on bits and pieces of my (or someone else’s) online activity?

In following Lifestreaming over the last year I have seen some big changes happening. All of the aggregation going on is causing such a firehose of data that it’s reducing our attention span as a group and making it harder to effectively react to it. Steve Rubel wrote a story a while back about the Attention Crash. In that post he stated the following

We are reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans of managing. The demands for our attention are becoming so great, and the problem so widespread, that it will cause people to crash and curtail these drains. Human attention does not obey Moore’s Law.

I think this is transforming us into a “micro” based culture on the web. It’s becoming harder to find the time to sit down and spend hours planning and writing posts. I’m usually pretty methodical about my blogging. I like to provide a lot of detail whether it’s in the form of research, creating detailed screenshots, testing other services, etc… This has become increasingly more difficult as I continue to join the ranks in this new Hyper Connected Web.

So getting back to Stan’s comment, I think he illustrates the problem being addressed by services like Twitter & FriendFeed. People are losing interest in commenting on blog posts. This dialog is usually limited to the vacuum that is just the author and other commenters. Twitter and FriendFeed offers us the intimacy of  sharing ourselves and our data with our immdediate circle of friends. These services are increasing our distractions and thus reducing the time we spend commenting on blog posts. It’s so much easier to quip on bits of data with your friends as a captive audience while still adding your voice to the stream. 

 The other part of the equation is that Twitter & FriendFeed offers people this hyper connectivity that provides instant gratification from peers.  As we pay more attention to and contribute to these new venues I feel we are training ourselves and transforming into “micro-posters”. Steve also wrote another post titled “Wither Blogging? Not Yet, But Perhaps Soon” where he discusses the afformentioned Attention Crash as well as new mobile tools and social services are what’s fueling this trend.

Those are my initial impressions as to what’s been changing as of late. I’m not sure how they will affect myself and others in the long term but it is happening. I think the future will be determined by the evolution of services on the web and I’m sure these changes will continue to re-shape themselves as more innovation occurs in this new decentralized web that’s being created.


I feel like I have gotten to the point where I have some uneasiness if I am not “keeping up with it all.” The rational side of me knows this is nonsense, but the side of me that now craves information keeps on going.” – quote from article at Keener Living. I also suffer from the “keeping up with it all” syndrome mainly because I am plagued by the “I don’t want to miss anything” syndrome.

People Are Commenting On Your Blog Posts – On Other Websites from discusses the issue of decentralized comments.

The Conversation Has Left the Blogosphere from Read Write Web discusses methods of how to track the decentralized data.

17 thoughts on “How Twitter, FriendFeed & Lifestreaming are Transforming the Web”

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  4. I comment on artists blogs, where I need to see the art pieces. I don’t think those sorts of blogs will ever lose the comments.

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  6. I would argue that the attention crash will have one unforeseen benefit – it will bring micro-communities together. If you think about the 5-10 people you hang out with the most. Can’t you see LifeStreaming being a kind of glue keeping that group tighter? The trick is focusing your attention, not the opposite. If you limit the number of FriendFeeds you’re tracking (the ones you truly care about) then it will be a more rewarding experience.

    Good post, as usual, Mark. I always have my focus on you!


  7. @Kelly…I’m in total agreement. Just like there is a methodology for GTD (Getting things done) I think there needs to be a new one developed for…hmmm….lets call it RAD (reducing attention distraction). Your comment provides one method to use for this.

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  11. Well, that’s strange, because my problem with friendfeed is actually that it delivers to much information and does not compress anything to the most interesting. I do not care for all information from one person. First of all, because it’s not always important and second it’s a bit to much groupiesk.

    So, the thing with the comments. I think you’re totally wrong on this matter, because with more blog users, there will be always more people who will comment blogs and twitter won’t dissolve this. To keep everybody in perspective: Twitter does breached the one million accounts mark just a few weeks ago. That’s – compared to the blogosphere – well how shell I say this? Nothing? Before you go all twitter on me, don’t bother, I’m already a constant user and I do love twitter a lot. But it’s not a threat to blogs and it’s not a threat to comments in blogs either. It does something totally and utterly else: It’s giving us the possibility to chit chat over the net with quite a lot of people without living our places. I don’t know a lot blogs which are doing the same thing.

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