Google Reader Shared Items Needs Fewer Friends

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.

11 Responses to “Google Reader Shared Items Needs Fewer Friends”

  1. 1 Robert Scoble 2007 July 20 at 7:45 am

    Good point. I have hundreds of friends who have the Google Reader loaded. Makes it very interesting to watch.

  2. 2 Denise Howell 2007 July 20 at 9:18 am

    Have you noticed that the app’s new “Group” feature introduces you to the shared items of folks who may not be your friends, but have joined a group where you’re a member? I wrote about subscribing to people’s shared items in Reader (something I’ve been enjoying a lot) this evening too:

  3. 3 Jeremy Herbel 2007 July 20 at 1:47 pm

    Yeah, Josh, if you were more popular like Scoble you wouldn’t have this problem…

    I have to agree with you, though. Scoble is also my only friend that actually uses this app, and I already see his shared items, so it gets a little redundant. I would love it if more of my friends did start using it, though. It would give me more insight into their interests. I already know the basics of why my friend enjoy, but this could give my specifics. If I see someone sharing something that I find interesting, I know I can ring them up and we can talk about it. Unfortunately, this would require my friends to start using Google Reader, and more importantly, actually reading feeds.

  4. 4 jny2cornell 2007 July 20 at 3:46 pm

    @Denise: I have noticed that I can subscribe to the shared item feeds of people in groups of which we are both members. You’re tight about how that’s a valuable way to discover what other interesting people are reading indeed. But there are many, many other interesting people, and it would be great if I could put all their shared items in a big pot, tell a feed aggregator that I’m short on time, and then view only items that have been shared at least five times. Aren’t there too many feeds of shared items for you to read them all?

  5. 5 jny2cornell 2007 July 20 at 3:49 pm

    @Jeremy: Ya, if I were more popular like Scoble…or didn’t have so many normal, non-geek friends…I wouldn’t have this problem. Haha.

  6. 6 mario romero 2007 July 20 at 8:34 pm

    Josh: Thanks for the insight, and I agree with you there are a lot of cool ways to mix around with this data, there is A LOT more coming, I’ll keep you posted.

  7. 7 mario romero 2007 July 21 at 2:28 am

    Josh: Just added a “Top Shared” in each network section, hope you like it. I think this starts to show the true power of mixing all this data.


  8. 8 Laurie 2007 December 13 at 2:19 am

    I want to know how to find interesting link blogs. Scoble’s is easy to find because he knows why link blogs are interesting and he has the link posted. Is there a way to do it other than just asking someone to start sharing? Is there a repository of good link blogs?

    Is there a better way to stumble on them other than just posting where my link blog is and hoping I stumble across another one?

  9. 9 Joshua Young 2007 December 13 at 3:28 am

    I’d look around facebook, actually, trying to identify popular shared posts you like and who shared them. In Mario Romero’s feedheads app, you can click to the feedheads’ page for a person, see a tagcloud that represents a person’s link blog, and click to the link blog itself. PS. Thanks for orkposters. I prefer manhattan.

  10. 10 Dick 2008 May 31 at 2:46 am

    Having new friends and visitors for your Facebook page can be difficult, since there are 68 mill other people having a Facebook page.
    you will have a link to your page, when you join the site. It’s all free and people will find you and your page easier.

  1. 1 » Im in ur Facebook app, slurpin’ up ur feeds | Lawgarithms | Trackback on 2007 July 20 at 9:18 am

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