I’m going to assume that only those currently using FriendFeed will understand the self reference in the title but if you didn’t that’s OK. Just keep on reading, you’ll get it, eventually.
If you happen to be interested or work in the life sciences area I’d recommend you take a few minutes to read Cameron Neylon‘s great post about FriendFeed and how it’s been embraced by the life sciences community.
I won’t go into the details of how FriendFeed works, but it’s been rapidly gaining momentum as a medium for groups of users to network and discuss each other’s shared content.
FriendFeed’s about page states:
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends
The life sciences community has picked up on this great website like wildfire. A recently created room called The Life Scientists grew in a very short period (a week?) from just a few active online colleagues to a whooping 100+ users.
FriendFeed rooms offer a way to share on-topic content and further discussion via comments. Commenting can be done on any shared items (yours or others). This has proven to be useful for rapid input and idea sharing amongst the room’s users.
This is the sort of tool that can very rapidly connect researchers, in ways that Twitter or Facebook do not. Not only can links be put up rapidly but comments are there very fast. It allows one to ask questions, post answers. It is a lot like how the Bionet newsgroup, which you can still access, used to be back in the old days (i.e. 1993-95) when Usenet ruled the Internet.
This is the online equivalent of the water cooler where you can run into someone and strike up a conversation that could lead to innovative thinking. Only instead of two people having to occupy the same space at the same time, this approach decouples both, permitting a much wider circle of people to be involved.