Friendfeed and the Hong Kong effect

Friendfeed is the newest new thing out in Silicon Valley that has hockey stick growth in only a few weeks. Seen by many as a refuge from Twitter and the constant ‘fail whale’, Friendfeed’s growth is just going out of control. (Friendfeed, for those not in the know, is a micro-blogging platform that lets you put up quick notes to your ‘core regular’ followers, i.e. friends. Twitter was the original, but simply cannot keep up with the growth, leading to a fail message of a big whale picture).

Anyway, I’m following a few tech luminaries and that shows me what their friends are posting, but I’m starting to notice something that I call the ‘Hong Kong effect’ with postings.

When I was living in Hong Kong, the Internet, quite frankly, was pretty boring. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it until I thought about it for a bit and realized I was accessing all of my normal sites each day (Washington Post, NY Times, Silicon Valley sites, etc) at what turned out to be night time in the USA. Websites don’t really get updated at 1 in the morning, and in fact many go into maintenance mode at say 4 am (i.e. slower, etc). So the page I saw at the Washington Post when I woke up in Hong Kong (8am HK/8pm DC) was pretty much the same page I saw when I was having dinner later that night (6pm HK/6am DC).

The same sort of thing is happening with Friendfeed. With its userbase primarily in Silicon Valley, it seems that I’ll wake up in the morning in DC (7am) and there will be a few stories posted from after I went to bed, but I won’t really see any new content until about 1 or 2 pm this afternoon, when most of the Silicon Valley crowd gets up and starts chatting.

I guess I should start following more folks in Europe (I have a few) but the heavy users (and their friends) still seem to be living and posting on West Coast time.

We’ll see if I can change that in the next few days. It’s an interesting site (though I don’t like visually how the comment section appears) and I suspect it will have a very good future, so long as we don’t see the big whale appear on the homepage.