Not too long ago, it seemed as if MySpace was the only major social networking site around. Sure, there were other similar sites that grew up alongside it, like Friendster, but for a while MySpace was by far the biggest and most popular place for people in search of online communities to go to. At its peak, MySpace claimed a share of 4.5 percent of all U.S. Internet visits and had more than 75 million unique users [source: Kirkpatrick].
But nowadays, with Facebook on top with a self-reported 150 million users worldwide (and growing) and MySpace unique users on the decline, the social media playground is a much different place. New sites dedicated to linking users in and providing a place for people to create profiles and content seem to pop up every day -- each with a slightly different function. And the list continues to grow. Microblogging sites like Twitter offer users short bursts of quick communication and easy ways to network. Image sites like YouTube and Flickr allow members to organize and share their videos and photos. Tons of recommendation sites like Digg.com, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon.com serve as online centers for sharing news stories and other interesting finds from the Web.
If many or all of these sites offer something that interests you, it can be a lot to keep track of. Even if you were to bookmark every single site, navigating among each one is a labyrinthine task. Most also require you to create a personal profile -- which is great if you want to communicate with your friends and save information, but logging in and out of each one to check updates and see what your friends are up to could get confusing and time consuming.
In an attempt to solve this conundrum, social Web site aggregators have arisen. Aggregators typically collect information from multiple sites and display it in one easy-to-read feed. One aggregator in particular, known as FriendFeed, has caught the attention of social networking fans and appears to be gaining in popularity.
So, what exactly can you do with FriendFeed, and what makes it a useful tool? Find out on the next page.