August 08, 2008

FriendFeed Friday Tips #9: How To Keep Your Feed Fresh

Previous entries in this series: The "Hide" function, the bookmarklet, advanced search, how to integrate with Google Talk, how you can incorporate comments, determine an item's original source, how to learn about fellow users, and how to post to the service by e-mail.
At its core, FriendFeed is an aggregator of all your social services from around the Web. Whether you've made a post on your blog, updated your status on Twitter, selected a favorite video on YouTube, or made a bookmark in, just as a few examples, your personal FriendFeed stream will show that activity, assuming you've added those services to your feed. But even though FriendFeed does a pretty good job at finding your activity quickly, sometimes it can feel like there's a delay, which can get people asking why their entries haven't shown up. In most cases, the solution is just a refresh away.

You can see any of your FriendFeed activity on the "Me" tab.

The Me tab not only shows your previous entries, but also your Services, your Comments and Likes statistics, 12 of your most popular subscriptions, and up to 8 rooms. (See mine here)

To refresh any feed that seems stuck, first click the "Edit/Add" button.

This brings up a window showing your shared sites, and the option to add more.

Click on the stuck service, and FriendFeed will show you your user name for the service, giving you the option to change the user name, remove the account, to refresh the feed, or cancel out. It's the "Refresh Feed" button that does the magic.

If you hit "Refresh Feed", a quick message will say "Refreshing (Service)", e.g. "Refreshing Digg" or "Refreshing Flickr". This forces FriendFeed's spiders to go out and fetch the most recent feed from that service - usually by RSS.

Typically, that's all it takes, assuming the service's RSS feed itself isn't the problem. So if you're super-excited about showing your bookmarks, shares, photos and videos, the "Refresh Feed" button is usually all you need.

As FriendFeed relies on other services to deliver your activity, a delay may instead indicate slowness at the third party site. For instance, if your blog post isn't showing up, it may mean that FeedBurner hasn't yet received your update. If that's the case, you can ping FeedBurner directly, and then go back to refresh your FriendFeed stream to get things back on track.

So if you're the impatient type who wants your FriendFeed stream to be perfect and "caught up", without delay, that's how you do it. As for your issues with attention deficit disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, that's between you and your doctors.