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July 25, 2008

FriendFeed Friday Tips #8: How To Post To FriendFeed Via E-mail

By popular demand, I've been asked by other FriendFeed users to highlight how I use the popular social lifestreaming site. So far the series has covered the "Hide" function, the bookmarklet, advanced search, how to integrate with Google Talk, how you can incorporate comments, determine an item's original source and how to learn more about your fellow users.
Since FriendFeed debuted their API this spring, the number of third party applications authored for the fast-growing aggregation service has been rapidly increasing. There have been different Web-based services to give a new look to FriendFeed, from FriendFeedMachine, MioNews and NoiseRiver, a mobile version from FFToGo, and other add-ons, including GreaseMonkey scripts and blog comments integrators. But sometimes, it'd just be a lot easier to start out with the original social network - e-mail.

Gary Burd, a long-time Microsoft employee, and now a member of FriendFeed's small staff, introduced a service that lets you post directly to FriendFeed, using your e-mail, including the attachment of photos or graphics, called Mail2FF, back in late May. He debuted the service prior to joining the Mountain View-based company, and its arrival was well accepted by co-founder Paul Buchheit, who wrote, "Cool! Did you create this Gary? This has been on my "things I personally want" list for a long time."

Using Mail2FF is quite simple, as you can see from a Mail2FF tutorial produced by Ross Miller, an intern at the company for a summer.

Step 1: Write Your Message

Open your e-mail application and compose your message, just like you were sending a regular e-mail. The subject line of your e-mail will be the subject line, and the body of the message will be posted as a comment on your own item.


Step 2: Add Pictures

Attach any photos or graphics you would like to accompany the item. They will be placed as part of the item in their full resolution, hosted on Amazon Web services. Up to two images will be displayed on the item, with a blue arrow being displayed if more than two images are attached.


Step 3: Know Where To Send It

Mail2FF uses your own API remote key, which you can find here. To send the message to FriendFeed, you would send it to:

username+remotekey@mail2ff.com

For me, assuming my remote key is purple456monkey, I would send it to:

louisgray+purple456monkey@mail2ff.com

The end result would be displayed like this:


Step 4: Sending the Message to a Room

If you want to get creative, you can even send your message, and images, to a FriendFeed room, rather than the main feed. This is done by adding the room name ahead of your username and remote key.

For example, if the room name is "babyfeed", one I've been using lately, I would send it to:

babyfeed+louisgray+purple456monkey@mail2ff.com


The result would be just as it is in your own feed, complete with subject line, body content as the first comment and attached images, but sent to the room itself. (See above or the actual posting)

Mail2FF was so clearly a success, it was integrated with FriendFeed's native version for the iPhone released at the end of June. (See: VentureBeat) And when I was stuck at the hospital, finding many of the Web sites I used completely blocked, like Flickr and FTP, Mail2FF was the only way I could send the very first pictures of Matthew and Sarah the world had ever seen. (See: Matthew and Sarah: First Photos (More Coming))

When entries are posted to FriendFeed via Mail2FF, you will see a tag "via Mail2FF", and the items are shown as "internal" FriendFeed postings. You can see some that I've done here, here and here. To get started, head to www.mail2ff.com and give your e-mail a shot.