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FriendFeed IN, Twitter OUT

For a number of months, Twitter has been the darling of the technorati. It was simple, easy to use, and most of all, it was addicting. For marketers, it was another way of tapping into conversations, and knowing what was hot in the eyes of the twittering public. News had a way of breaking out fast in Twitter, and people talked in a very raw, informal manner that’s valuable if you need to see real trends as they unfold.

However, its popularity ultimately brought Twitter down, literally. Its servers suffered from multiple downtimes over the weeks, making it too unreliable for some people. A portion of them began considering other options, and one of the most talked about right now is FriendFeed. Some pundits are so enthusiastic about it that they call it the next big thing after Google. Of course, I want to take that with a grain of salt.

If you haven’t heard about them before, here’s what’s written in the site about page:

FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends. Sign up for FriendFeed, invite some friends, and get a customized feed made up of the content that your friends shared — from news articles to family photos to interesting links and videos. FriendFeed automatically imports shared stuff from sites across the web, so if your friend favorites a video on YouTube, you get a link and a thumbnail of the video in your feed. And if your friend likes a news story on Digg, you get a link in your feed. FriendFeed makes all the sites you already use a little more social.

One of the great things about FriendFeed is that it enables “social contextual search”. Using their advanced search feature, enter a keyword and you can filter the results to only the relevant sites shared by your friends – that is, people you trust. This has a huge potential for highly targeted advertising. In order to be useful, you’d need to have a substantial number of friends who actively share sites, but that may not be much of problem for long.

As for marketing and promotion, it’s a great tool. Tim Bauer gives an example:

FriendFeed is interesting in this conversation as it enables the evangelist to efficiently share out their research. An article on google reader at 8:30 a.m. A few relevant images from Flickr at 9:00 a.m. Twitter blathering from (9:30 to 10:30). A good quote from a book at 11. Some relevant blog posts on XYZ reader at 1. A webcast you recorded on QIK at 3. All tidbits leading to something (or nothing) in the form of a more formal statement (your blog?). Your power consumers will love the access you can provide them.

Already several high profile bloggers like Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington, and Steve Rubel have been singing praises for FriendFeed. The question is, will it catch on with the mainstream? Time will tell.