Social Media Analytics Via The FriendFeed API

Author: Gab Goldenberg

I’ve written before about what I see as the correct paradigm for measuring social media success: the strength of the relationships you’ve built. I’ve been aware of FriendFeed for a while, but I wasn’t aware what it was precisely. And more importantly, I didn’t know that it had an API.

I’m aware of both now. So FYI: you can create a basic social media analytics software/platform.

You hook up your code to Friendfeed, and count how much interaction is going on between folks. Then your software’s users login and can see how many karma points they’ve racked up.

If you want to get fancy, you can try and parse the language for nasty interaction such as insults, and subtract karma points for that. Also, since we tend to forget the [small] good things people have done for us, there should be a natural attrition rate of your karma points.

So how long will it be until someone creates these social media analytics tools? What will they be called? How will they be monetized? Will Friendfeed’s lack of integration with StumbleUpon and niche networks (e.g. Sphinn) prevent you using these tools? Here’s looking for comments! Also, add my RSS feed to your reader!

p.s. This also reinforces my earlier point about the trend of commodification of data.

Tags: ,

Sidebar Story


  1. Hey Gab, I believe we should track site usage for SEO purposes, but tracking social media should not be a priority or concern because social media is is about relationships, communication, discussions, etc. You, as a blog owner, want more comments. You don't need to track or measure the comments in order to determine how effective your blog or social media strategy is working for you or how it is helping me to learn more about SEO. You need to listen and engage. Your time is better spent writing extremely helpful posts and engaging with me via comments than analyzing the number of readers who leave comments. This is difficult for larger businesses to grasp (as well as the management). They want quantifiable numbers in order to justify the time/money invested in this newer medium. Do they demand this information from their spouse and children to determine if their family is worth the time? It doesn't make sense to me. While I understand the desire to find out if the SM strategy is working, it can't measured unless you are a part of the conversation and listen - that's why it is called "social." The only way to measure social media is to listen, engage, and change. Btw. Glad to see you implemented the "Notify me of followup comments via email!" Ed: Great comment Bob. Folks, check out Bob's Web Design shop if you're in the market.

    Comment by Bob - January 4, 2009 @ 5:09pm
  2. Hey Gab, I spoke a lot about using API's for link building and valuation recently and totally forgot about friendfeed having one. Thanks for the reminder!

    Comment by Wil Reynolds - January 5, 2009 @ 10:05am
  3. Bob, you make a good point that relationships are more qualitative than quantitative, but it's more difficult to come up with qualitative metrics. Perhaps on the backend you could let people manually add points to particular relationships. Consider this example though: Your comment was 255 words. That's huge, and makes for an enjoyable, motivating read. I feel that our relationship is getting significantly stronger. Plus it's not your first one. True, those 255 words could have been gibberish. But generally, that's not the case. Consider if someone leaves a onetime "great post, really interesting" comment (without a link, cuz it's not linkspam). That's not contributing to a strong relationship. Consider teens talking on the phone - long conversations often end up in dating relationships. You're right that participation is essential to success in social media - my assumption in the post is that you are participating and want to find out whether that participation is succesful. And thanks for the tip on followup comments by email! p.s. Nice to see you're on your own site now.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - January 5, 2009 @ 7:09pm
  4. Where did you speak Wil? Got some video to share?

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - January 5, 2009 @ 7:10pm
  5. Let me back up and ask, are you thinking that a company like Constant Contact would use this tool? If so, what would/could they extract from a tool that tells them the information you're suggesting? Help me to understand why it is important to measure SM conversations. I'm coming from the standpoint that as a business owner, one could listen to the comments users are bloggings/twittering about. They can take that information into account and make a better business. Then they can reply to those users (we love to know they are listening and care). Just like that a business earns a face. Another example. You and I are having this conversation here. I've left 3-4 comments. There's a Wordpress plugin (I believe) that will show who the top commenters are. From my perspective, it would be cool to see that I am one of the top. It might cause me to keep commenting to stay on top, but for me it isn't sustainable. The fact that I get value from your posts keeps me coming back to read your articles. Knowing that you care and listen and respond to my comments makes me want to continue leaving them (and the fact that they are relevant to my interests). The end result from me is that I get to engage with you and learn. Thoughtful exchanges are made and we both develop and grow stronger in this field. This what I see as the advantage of SM and that can't be measured...or can it? Btw. I'm not including sites like or similar because their really isn't a conversation. These types of sites can be measured (e.g. this article has been bookmarked XXX times is proof that you are a really good writer or it is just a relevant topic to a lot of people). Thanks for the link!

    Comment by Bob - January 5, 2009 @ 7:46pm
  6. Let's say you write a great article and it goes hot on whatever social news site you target. Next post is so-so, but you ask your friends to vote it up. Some do, some don't. The next one is also average, and fewer vote it up now. If you're following this, you might pick up on the loss of support from your friends and dig around for reasons: - Are they less active on the site? - Is your content quality dropping? - Are you wearing them out and never reciprocating favours? You can see how active your relationships are (and the assumption here is that active relationships are strong relationships) and adjust your behaviour if you want to improve them. You measure to improve, just like measuring conversion rate or anything else.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - January 6, 2009 @ 1:25pm
  7. Gotcha. I see your point and how that can be helpful. Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by Bob - January 6, 2009 @ 1:32pm

Leave a Reply