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FriendFeed Follower Patterns Exposed: How Jason, Mike, Loic & Robert Get So Many Followers So Quickly (video)
Over the past 24 hours, Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble, Loic Lemeur and Michael Arrington have all asked essentially the same question. They are all wondering how they got so many followers on FriendFeed so quickly.
Here at the CenterNetworks Investigation Bureau, we have been investigating this topic since we first reported on it a month ago. Seriously. After the last month of investigation, we are now prepared to share our findings. Please view the video below for the analysis as to why these four people are getting so many followers so quickly. The answer might just surprise you.
So as you can see, FriendFeed has created "defaults" and the four people above are part of the nine-person default set. What this means is that when anyone signs up for a new account on FriendFeed, they are presented with the same nine people every single time. Twitter has no defaults, hence a slower signup rate.
I presented my research to a couple of other top bloggers last week who aren’t included in the default list and their initial response was that Jason and Mike weren’t even participating in FF (they are now which is great). Mack also misses the point when he tries to explain the follower numbers.
Update: two people have emailed me noting that Jason isn’t actively participating, just sharing Mahalo links. They make a good point, he’s only sharing links via the bookmarklet, not actually participating in the conversation (yet I hope).
Defaults don’t just mean more followers, they mean more traffic to the supporting content sites.
When I asked Friendfeed co-founder Paul Buchheit about this, he said, "you are correct however that we should tweak the algorithm to increase diversity when browsing popular feeds such as Scoble’s — FriendFeed has grown by a few orders of magnitude since the algorithm was originally created and so it probably requires some updating." When I spoke with Paul, I hadn’t yet realized that there was this also default nine-person set.
My hope is that FriendFeed will expedite the algorithm change and create more diversity and discovery with their platform. Shouldn’t everyone who uses FriendFeed get a chance to be discovered instead of pushing the same nine people for all of eternity?