FriendFeed Should ReadWrite

I’ve been using FriendFeed for about three months now, and I like it but I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. One of the big pluses for most people is that it decentralizes blog conversations allowing people to interject comments into your Lifestream. But it’s this very feature that makes me not like it as much as I might.

I’d really like to see a way for FriendFeed to pass comments to the service that the content is coming from. For instance, if I post a photo on Flickr, and no one comments on Flickr, but 50 people on FriendFeed start a conversation about it, I’d like those comments to be passed to the photos comment page on Flickr. Similarly a blog post that has several comments on my blog, should gain the interjections added from my friends on FriendFeed.

How This Would Work

The biggest question, of course, is how would all of this work? One option is to simply extend the functionality of the various APIs that FriendFeed uses to connect you to your social networks. FriendFeed would connect to the service and the user would approve it to use their account (think Flickr and Flickr Uploader). This would allow FriendFeed to read and write to the users account.

Tricky part is figuring out if the person on FriendFeed has an account on whatever the service is that your content exists on it. If the user doesn’t This could be solved by simply using a dummy FreindFeed account. For example on Flickr…

    FriendFeed says:
    @FFUser1 “nice photo, man!”
    @FFUser2 “I like the shadows”
    @FFUser3 “where was this taken?”

That would all be one comment when passed to your Flickr Account. Of course if the commenting user did have an account on Flickr, their comment could just be posted to the correct content using their account data which FriendFeed would have been given. These comments would be organized in the chronological order they were received, allowing them to maintain their context.

To add a layer of privacy, there could be a little option for users that says something like “Keep My Comment on FriendFeed”, for those people who don’t want their comment to passed through to the service the content comes from. For instance I’d do that If I were to comment on my own posts. And perhaps a global setting that would allow users to always have that box checked or unchecked.

FriendFeed, in fact, already does this with some services like Twitter (re: the above picture) but most of it’s other services are excluded which leads me to believe that it’s got more to do with each specific service’s APIs than for lack of the FriendFeed team’s trying.

Since there are hundreds of way to create a lifestream these days (Socialthing, Tumblr, pipes.yahoo.com, Facebook etc.) I feel like the ‘writing’ aspect would be a huge asset to the FriendFeed community.