electronic brain surgery since 2001

The Web 2.0 is not about you

"Sharing" by madmoiselle lavender❤

I recently noticed a disturbing trend in my “online peer group” – the deletion of accounts at typical Web 2.0 services, most notably FriendFeed.

One argument I'm hearing is that FriendFeed is not an open, distributed platform and centralization within a corporate entity is evil.

I agree. There should be a wonderful distributed system to aggregate and share any content and comments based on FOAF relationships with a way to discover new items. But there is none. One day someone might come up with it and I will happily leave FriendFeed to join the new ÜberWeb1). Until then, FriendFeed is doing an amazing job:

  • it supports a plethora of popular services
  • it supports any RSS feed
  • it let's me build “friendship” networks
  • it allows me to comment and vote (“like”) other people items
  • thing my “friends” like or comment on will be brought to my attention
  • it let's my friends add new services to their stream on their own so I don't need to subscribe to each of their different feeds
  • it does all this on a single place
  • all data is available through open, public APIs

But missing openness is not the only cause for leaving the service. Others leave because they are either overwhelmed/distracted by the amount of data flowing through or that the content it provides isn't interesting anymore.

Both often are problems with your subscription list. You might be subscribed to too many people 2) or the wrong people3).

But even if you decide FriendFeed is not useful to you anymore, deleting your account will make the service less useful for your former FriendFeed “friends”.

Web 2.0 is not only about accessing the wisdom of the crowds. It is also about sharing with the crowd.

And the size of the crowd you stop sharing by deleting your account is bigger than your direct network of friends. Because, as I said, whenever a friend of you “likes” one of your items it will be visible to his friends, too. So each deleted account has a big impact on the quality of the service for a large part of its users.

So what's the alternative?

  1. Consider if you could manage the amount/quality of data by using the “lists” feature
  2. Consider unsubscribing people
  3. If you want to leave, just disable all email notifications and just stop checking the site
  4. Start building the ÜberWeb

PS: I'm not endorsed with FriendFeed, they just provide a valuable service to me and you leaving makes it less valuable to me and my friends. So yes, I'm just selfish.

friendfeed, accountdeletion, web2.0, rant
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