Despite the fact that I used to work for a "widget" company, I've long been a
believer that you need to find a way to get in the feed. Feeds change. They're live, full of activity, and people notice them. They're the backbone of the blogopshere, Facebook, and even MySpace has gotten into the action with its own feed of status updates when you login.
FriendFeed just came out and it aims to help me aggregate all the various feeds of my friends into one place... essentially creating an open, portable version of the Facebook newsfeed.
I see two issues with that. One, by number most of my friends who aren't necessarily 2.0Heads don't really have a lot of feeds, or even any. It seems to me that this isn't nearly as much of a consumer problem as it is a publisher problem. There are more people consuming content than producing it... and certainly A LOT more people consuming content than the number of people producing it in multiple places. Perhaps that's why most people don't use aggregation tools. RSS consumption is still very low and if you think for a second that the average blog is only read by less than a dozen or so people, that makes sense. I hate to break it to you gurus, but the great majority is absolutely content living inside closed data silos like Facebook and MySpace and doesn't think anything of it. Hell, people are still using Snapfish for photos, believe it or not.
The other thing FriendFeed fails to address is the atmosphere of social places. MySpace has a different atmosphere than Facebook. As danah pointed out, people don't pick one or the other because they are "better", they choose them because the atmosphere matches who they are.
That's why, despite its overwhelming database of information on people, Plaxo's Pulse is never going to turn into an interesting space where people want to hangout, and why I highly doubt that FriendFeed is ever going to be more than just a commoditized utility.
Ok, back to my idea. As one of relatively few publishers who does produce a lot of feeds, I'd like a better way to get them into my blog than widgets. No one regularly consumes my widgets or even notices that they've changed. I want a way to aggregate my own world, but more importantly, I want very specific controls over how it gets published. Think the del.icio.us autopost, only way smarter.
Basic premise: Hosted
"[insert feed] of the day" posting mechanism. You throw any RSS or XML feed
into it and you can tell it to pull data and post it to your blog on a
regular basis. Most importantly, you control what it pulls, how often, and the format.
So, it needs to do the following:
Accept any RSS or XML feed and pull either the last X
entries or be smart enough to pull all the entries since the
last time it got the feed. Or...
post every time it hit x entries.
Then it needs to do scheduled blog posting via XML-RPC... work with Wordpress, Typepad, Blogger, etc. I'd have the ability to create custom titles for these posts as well. "My last.fm listening this week..."
Plus, the platform should be social in that if I create a really great algorithm for how/when I want to post my last.fm data, other people should be able to use that same template.
I'd also like to be able to insert advertising into each post.
Here's what I'd use on my site:
2 days of New York Startup Jobs of the Day posts from Indeed RSS feeds, Tuesday and Thursday.
Friday, I'd post "Music I Listened to this week" from last.fm.
1 day of the last few days of Brooklyn news from Outside.in.
1 day of thumbnails of my last week's Flickr photos if there are any.
Service will be located at iminurfeedz.com. :)
If anyone would like to go out and build this, I will happily promote it and donate the domain name.