Johnny Worthington who is one of the more dynamic and interesting people on FriendFeed issued an open letter to the developers of FriendFeed to find out what is happening with the web site. Many of the FriendFeed users (myself included) have an emotional and time investment in the system that is not easily replaced or moved over to another system. While Paul Buchheit stated on FriendFeed that the site is in the Chrysalis stage to the next big thing, the users are getting antsy.
In comes Johnny’s open letter, this is one of the most heartfelt pleadings of a community member that I have read in a long time. It is worth reading because it is probably one of the best pleas for information, and probably the last chance that FriendFeed has to answer the community directly and succinctly about what is happening with their investment in the FriendFeed system. The teaser message just is not enough because people are emotionally invested in the community, and the community is seeking answers or abandoning in droves, FriendFeed traffic is down, and down hard since the buyout.
The numbers do not lie – the buyout from Facebook has had a negative influence on the FriendFeed community. What is interesting is that the passionate users want to keep using the system, and while many sites like Techcrunch and The Next Web reported what was happening when Paul Buchheit made his statement, the users are the ones who are still working out what to do.
In the many years of covering startups, new products, and other technology related issues, it is rare that the users are so passionate about a product or service on the internet that they stick with it through thick and thin. FriendFeed is in that unusual position of (and lucky position) of having been found and consumed by a passionate group of people who love the service. They will stick for whatever reason, and when left wonder what is next will write public open statements about that emotional investment in the service. Most startups are lucky to get off the ground, FriendFeed has a committed user base, it would be a shame to have FriendFeed simply stop responding to that consumer base. Of all the business mistakes that can be made, not responding to consumers is one of the more egregious ones that a company can make.
No one (or very few and I do not know them) wants FriendFeed to become the next Dodgeball.
This is why the community needs its leaders and developers, this is why the owners of FriendFeed, either a Facebook representative or Paul Buchheit just needs to simply come out with it, what is the game plan here, where are we going, are you even going to stay open, can we as a community base continue our emotional involvement with the FriendFeed system?
Johnny, I hope they read your letter, because it was one of the best open letters I have read anywhere.
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- Zee.: “Friendfeed is not dead. It’s transforming” says Friendfeed Co-Founder (thenextweb.com)
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)