scobleintervention OK, so if you didn’t know I stormed off from FriendFeed in a huff during the election, very likely you were paying attention to more importan t things at the time than me.  Like the election.

But yeah, I stormed off.  You can read my un-caged beast over here and here if you so desire.

I’m revisiting the topic for two reasons:

I’m back on FriendFeed. Here’s the thread where you can go join the others in ridiculing my lack of resolve.

Robert Scoble Requires an Intervention. No, not the one I suggested at some point a while back. Mike Arrington suggested this evening that Robert Scoble needs a FriendFeed intervention, and that his blog and position as a thought leader has suffered as a result.

FF-logoIt was in response to the fact that Robert had let slip to Mike that he estimates he spent around 2,000 hours on the service since he joined:

What did I get for my 2,000 hour investment this year?

6,841 comments. (These are blogs and items I had something to say about, so I left a comment on them).
13,078 likes. (These are blogs and items made by other people that I wanted to share with you).
I manually followed 5,405 people. (You can see all the content they generate in real time here).

I don’t think I spent nearly that amount of time, but that’s because I know (as does Robert, if he’s strictly honest with himself) that it wasn’t a straight 7 hours a day.  You FriendFeed (unless you’re Mona) while you do other stuff. You leave the window open and monitor other stuff while you work.  I know that’s how I use it – otherwise I simply couldn’t get paid for the work I was supposed to be doing.

But like Robert, I’d imagine I spent, if you count all the hours you have the window open, around 2,000 hours if not more, since I worked way more than 7 hours a day, and generally had FriendFeed open for more than those seven hours (not to mention I was active on the service far earlier than Robert </geekcred>).

The Question Is: Was It Worth It?

Since I took a couple month sabbatical from the service, I was able to really see the difference in how it affected my blogging.  In terms of frequency – I was able to go back up.  There’s no doubt that there’s a time-suck involved.  Of course it didn’t help that I was blogging both professionally and on the side here at Rizzn, but once I was able to step back from FF, I was able to put some of that time back in here into other projects.

In terms of traffic, after the initial spike wore off, it was much more difficult to get any sort of traction on posts I wrote. 

I say that, keep in mind, in full agreement with Steven Hodson’s assessment that there’s a very narrow margin of what works on FriendFeed.  He and I commiserate regularly on the fact that certain posts, though they be wonderfully composed and thought out, will never be as popular as bacon.

That’s sad, but that’s life.  Overall, I trended upwards in my readership, but it was a much more difficult trek upwards. The threshold for a post gaining traction was much higher, and ironically dependent on FriendFeed, to a certain extent.

I have Disqus comments enabled, and usually whenever the first couple comments file in from FriendFeeders, the post rapidly starts to spread.  When I was separate from FriendFeed, the traction only seemed to occur when a FriendFeeder happened to comment.  Several times I had readers come by and leave a few comments, but since they weren’t FriendFeed users, the posts languished in relative obscurity.

In effect, I need FriendFeed (now, more than ever, since I’m going it alone instead of blogging on a highly visible site).

Don’t Expect Me to FriendFeed as Much as Robert

I never was as prolific as Robert was – mostly because I value my signal to noise ratios, whereas he revels in the noise. I personally think he overdoes it in that respect.  I get just as much value out of FriendFeed as he does, I expect, because I’m more discerning with my follows.

In the immortal words of Jane Buckingham: “If the news is that important, it will find me.”

I’m on FriendFeed because I want the news to find me quicker, and I want my news to be found quicker – while it’s still news.

So, bottom line, I’m back, and like Mike Arrington said about Twitter, I now say about FriendFeed: “I now need FriendFeed more than FriendFeed needs me.”

Consider my pride swallowed.