I made it pretty clear the other day that I wasn’t a big fan of FriendFeed’s new ability to push user updates to Twitter. As a few examples showed, too much of the same content was being repeated and it made the moderate-to-heavy FriendFeed users who turned it on very noisy on Twitter. It was like an extreme echo chamber — filled with too much noise.
Today, FriendFeed revised the feature to make it much more useful. What they did is quite simple: Rather than have all the tweets (Twitter messages) link back to the entry on FriendFeed, there’s an option to have them link back to the original source. So, for example, if I share a link on FriendFeed from VentureBeat, the resulting tweet link that gets created on Twitter will link back to VentureBeat and not FriendFeed.
Basically, this makes FriendFeed almost like Twitterfeed, a service that allows you to take an RSS feed and automatically post any updates from it to Twitter linking back to the source. What’s cool about the FriendFeed implementation is that you can find the FriendFeed version of the link (the one that takes you back to FriendFeed as this feature did before) simply by removing the dash (“-“) immediately after the last backslash in the URL.
As FriendFeed cofounder Paul Buchheit explains:
Also, it’s easy to convert the ff.im links by adding or removing a ‘-‘ from the path. For example, http://ff.im/5eY links to the conversation on FriendFeed, while http://ff.im/-5eY links to the article on VentureBeat.
That’s a nice little bonus for power users.
So I can now take back what I said about the post-to-Twitter feature being a traffic play by FriendFeed. Now, depending on how users take advantage of it, it’s arguably just another useful FriendFeed feature.