I have only one “friend” who has the application. That’s Robert Scoble, and I’d rather browse his link blog in Google Reader itself. There’s no reason for me to check it out in facebook.
There’s a mismatch between a facebook friend, who’s someone I usually know personally and often care about a great deal, and someone whom I’d like to include in the limited group of people whose Google Reader preferences I care about.
I’d love it if lots of my favorite bloggers kept “shared” their favorite posts and brought all that into facebook. I’d love to have Jeff Jarvis’s favorite reads. I’d love to have Doc Searls’s and Dave Winer’s. Yada yada.
But I’m not sure I want them to be my facebook friends. I don’t know them, haven’t met them. Equally as true, if not more, is that they are unlikely to want me to be their facebook friend.
The Google Reader Shared Items application should move away from the conception of “friend” native to facebook. Call the new conception a “follower,” and don’t allow the followed any choice, once they’ve hit shift+s in Google Reader, about whether I snoop in on what they’re reading. After all, I don’t have to know, or even like, Scoble to pull the feed for his link blog into my Google Reader.
I want to use this facebook app to actively subscribe to many individual’s shared items feeds. That’s because, in the end, there’s really only one important feature the app needs: aggregation how I want to aggregate.
Maybe that’s by tag. Maybe that’s by my favorite tech bloggers. Maybe the time comes when I can pull together the recommended reads from my favorite dozen political blogs—Think Progress, Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshal, Kevin Drum, Scott Horton, and others. Maybe I want to aggregate by my best friends forever. It should be up to me.