Stealing the conversation

Aggregators used to be pretty simple things. Services like Tumblr made it easy to suck in your posts, photos, links, whatever and display it in a simple ‘lifestream’ (mostly enabled by RSS). Now things have moved on a notch as services like Facebook, Reader and FriendFeed are aiming to be the place where people consume and share their stuff online.

As while ago I fed my Tumblr – which acted as my scrapbook of web postcards – into Facebook for a straight win. I carry on posting to Tumblr but now it reaches friends who I know wouldn’t see it otherwise and who jump on the chance to comment on it. When I spotted a familiar comic on a friend’s Tumblr I headed straight over to Facebook to comment, on a good hunch they also imported.

The case with Flickr is not so simple. By importing those, I’m also sharing my stuff with people I know. Those not on Flickr can give me flickr-esque feedback but it’s become detached from the source where I’d much prefer it. However, I know that Flickr isn’t everyone’s preferred photo biscuit. Since I’m Flickr faithful, I put up with this fracture even though it’s one more little nudge towards the Facebook vortex.

Reader seems to be chasing Facebook with the sharing and liking (formerly starring). Its far smaller user base seems to be mitigated by its users tendency to be reading the same sort of stuff as me. Of course, it’s also where I scan through recent photos from my Flickr contacts.

My Twitter posts rarely seem appropriate as Facebook updates somehow. Not only are they are lighter and more ‘disposable’ but they’re generally read by a different crowd (probably the one also using Reader). A better place to ‘host’ Twitter is probably FriendFeed which nicely integrates and enriches it with built-in friend lists, proper conversational support, inline images and expanded links.

Mine’s a complex, messy setup that doesn’t seem to have some about by design but really as an incremental series of reactions between what I want to do and what is available at the time. It’ll doubtless carry on evolving as the options multiply and I try to bind it all together in a way that makes sense.

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