If you’ve lived long enough on the internet, you know when a great thing is absorbed by a bigger thing — notice I didn’t say “grander” thing — the great thing, more often than not, becomes lesser and everything good about it disappears.  This is “The Spongeworthy Theory” in action:  “Please, sir, could I be absorbed to become something more?”  “But of course, laddie, we’ll take your great idea, suck the life out of it — and you’ll become our new old shoe!”

Our latest sad absorption into an Old Shoe is FriendFeed into Facebook.

Yesterday, when I learned of the takeover, my first response to the spongeworthiness of FriendFeed was an unprofessional, selfish, and inconsolable, “Noooooooooooooo!” — and today with time and tide on my side — I still feel the same way!

Everything great about FriendFeed — its speed, its quick interface, and its amazing, gazelle-like, handling of importing and updating multiple social networking sites in real time — will be euthanized by the bland, predictable and slow Facebook we know and loathe.

Big sigh!

For every Grand Central into Google Voice, we have a plethora of tragic Yahoo!s into Bings, Jotspots into Sites and Jaikus into the never-never land of the never-to-be-seen-again.

When you read the announcement of FriendFeed into Facebook, you’ll see I’m not the only one feeling abandoned and outraged.  Here are a few of my favorite howlings:

Augh! One of the things I liked most about FriendFeed was how it wasn’t Facebook, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt that way. For folks like me, this is a kick in the teeth!

FriendFeed certainly deserves the mainstream adoption that Facebook will make possible. I’m very disappointed personally though as I find using Facebook a horrible experience, and I can only imagine that FriendFeed’s ultimate destiny is to become buried deep within Facebook and be unappreciated by the masses that use that platform.

I’m never in favor of consolidating, diversity and choice is what makes the internet so amazing. What will ultimately happen is that Friendfeed will be sucked into Facebook and FF will ultimately disappear, a real kick in the teeth to all the users who supported it.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose, but why is it that the middling and the barely-working always outlive the cockroaches?


  1. Funnily enough when I read the title I first thought of an episode of Seinfeld related to a different kind of sponge.
    It’s sad when you start to wonder if companies are being developed expressly for the purpose of being purchased for way too much money.

  2. Hi Gordon!
    Yes, I was definitely referring to that Seinfeld episode — and to make that perfectly clear, I linked my Seinfeld article to the first Spongeworthy reference.
    I do think there’s a “let’s invent this neat thing and then sell it” mentality in the IT marketplace. They sucker us in with speed and beauty and then dump us when they are adopted by the mindless frumpy. It’s frustrating and disappointing.

  3. Yeah, these social hubs are cool, but they don’t have a lot of back end potential. I don’t think FriendFeed was making any money and they had no way to make any money, so this is a graceful exit.
    One could argue “Motion” by Movable Type is a localized, configurable, version of FriendFeed:

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