In the last couple of years, “feeds” — reverse-chronological lists of messages, links to web pages, and other information — have become central to the most cutting-edge web services, like Facebook and Twitter. But how will feeds evolve in the future? I’ll be moderating a panel tomorrow (Saturday afternoon) at South By Southwest in Austin, trying to answer that question. It’s titled: “Feed Me: Bite Size Info for a Hungry Internet,” and it will start at 3:30 central time.
The panelists, listed below, are thought leaders in this area. They’ll be discussing how users can get the most out of feeds, how existing products are going to keep changing to orient themselves around feeds — and which companies are poised for the most success. It should be a good conversation.
David Sacks, chief executive of Yammer (and some other things). We’ve covered Yammer extensively since it won the TechCrunc50 startup competition last fall. Essentially, its a business-focused version of microblogging service Twitter. It lets you easily post status updates to a group site saying what you’re up to. It recently introduced ways for you to include feeds of information from around the web. Sacks envisions Yammer as a better-than-email messaging system for companies to use within their corporate firewalls.
Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed (and some other things). Bringing together a wide range of other web services, FriendFeed is a centralized place for you to share your activity on many other sites while also being able to see what your friends are doing. It’s a sort of central community site — but I personally find it most valuable for privately sharing story ideas and other information with my VentureBeat colleagues. Granular sharing controls and easy access from other web sites make FriendFeed a useful tool for a wide range of people trying to track what’s happening online.
Dare Obasanjo, program manager at Microsoft. Windows Live includes Hotmail, Messenger and other social software services used by millions around the world. Last November, Microsoft redesigned Windows Live to make it more of a social network, with a news feed as one of its tentpoles. You can read Obasanjo’s sharp insights on feeds and many other topics on his personal blog.
Ari Steinberg, engineering manager at Facebook. Having introduced feeds to the masses in 2006, the company has continued to push feeds — most recently with a redesign this week that lets users more easily organize feeds in ways that make information-sharing even easier. Steinberg has been at Facebook since its early days, and has been involved in many of its innovations in this area. He and his team are passionate enough about this topic to arrange this panel and recruit the panelists (and moderator — thanks, guys).