There’s much ado about Twitter’s site traffic today — is it bigger than Digg’s or isn’t it? But the reality remains that Twitter.com’s traffic doesn’t matter that much because there are so many services out there that can (and do) pipe in and use Twitter’s data. FriendFeed, a social data aggregator, continues to be one of the best at doing that. Today, it unveiled a Twitter friend importer — another feature that makes visiting twitter.com less important.
One of Twitter’s biggest advantages is its strong network. With FriendFeed’s friend importer, you can see which of the people in your Twitter network is already using FriendFeed, and with the click of a button can subscribe to them on FriendFeed as well, as cofounder Bret Taylor announced on the company’s blog today. A lot of other sites do similar friend imports, but FriendFeed’s is interesting because you can carry out much of Twitter’s functionality on FriendFeed itself.
For example, you can post to Twitter, reply to tweets (Twitter messages), search tweets and, yes, read tweets. Because FriendFeed is so customizable you can basically emulate Twitter.com without ever having to go there. You can even do something that Twitter had to take away due to server strain: send and receive messages via IM.
Will a ton of people stop using Twitter.com because of this feature? No, but those who wish to have one less site to visit regularly may want to check out the features that FriendFeed offers when it comes to Twitter. The best part? Even if some of your Twitter friends aren’t on FriendFeed, you can create imaginary accounts for them and see their updates from services such as Twitter, as if they were on FriendFeed for real.
Finally! I’ve been wanting for this feature from FriendFeed for quite awhile now. Even better would be FriendFeed making fake accounts for the people I follow on Twitter who don’t yet use FriendFeed (since I do all of my reading of Twitter via Twitter Search and Friend Feed). – David Recordon
Update 2: In the same thread, FriendFeed cofounder Bret Taylor responded:
It is a good idea, and one we have discussed. I think we need to be confident the experience is good, though, and I think we have some issues with our imaginary friends feature that would need to be fixed before this would work well. – Bret Taylor