Wednesday, April 09, 2008

RSS aggregation as a friend filter

Just a quick thought before I forget it.

So - a lot of services allow you to grab all of your RSS feeds from all over the shop, and republish them in a central aggregated feed.

The resultant feed - of bookmarks, tweets, flickr pics, LastFM music, blogposts, yada yada - is noisy. REALLY noisy. In fact, unless you know someone really well, it's just too much information and you drown in it.

But there are some people for whom that much information is good, and comforting. I'd keep an eye on everything my other half was up to, for instance - not for stalking reasons, or because I want to surveil him, but because it's nice to know whats going through his head - it's his presence when he's not around - as Leisa would say, it's Ambient Intimacy.

But other people - no, I really don't want to know their every move - I'd like perhaps a once a month update of key items.

So a social aggregator with degree-of-intimacy - where you can pick and choose elements of a person's behaviour to subscribe to. This should couple with a few smart bits at the back which would desubscribe or deemphasise sections of a person's feed according to your consumption behaviour. Not reading all of Friend X's long screeds, but most of their tweets? Eventually the long screeds will drop off your updates.

Facebook maybe goes part way towards this, but it really doesn't understand the shades of grey and changeability of social ties.

Fluidity, and smartness, and the understanding that friendship ebbs and flows.


Anonymous said...

We each need a secretary who can compile a weekly or monthly summary of all the interesting bits of our friends' activities, get them beautifully printed, and have them ready for us to read over Sunday breakfast.

Alice said...

That's a really GOOD IDEA. Let's build it!

Unknown said...

any rss reader could do this; plug specific feeds into people-folders etc. i would check out - gets more impressive the more i use it.

kim said...

Does friendfeed have the ability to silently de-susbscribe or stop showing certain content from certain people? This is the thing that I really want. A mass aggregation of all of my friends stuff I have, already, in my RSS reader. What I need is something that silently learns from my reading behaviour, and doesn't overload me with the 'person X who I don't really know is going to the loo, and then replying to person Y who I've never heard off about that burrito they ate yesterday' stuff.

That's really the point - any RSS reader *can't* do that - it just overloads you with ALL of the data from a person, and doesn't seperate the noise from the signal, for local values of noise and signal.

josh said...

New Bayesian filter for RSS

I would like to suggest a great new site that organizes your RSS feeds.
It employs a Bayesian filter applied to RSS feeds where you can train the filter what you like and
what you don't like based upon examples. It's free, try it at