It started when we wanted a better way to share feature ideas and product plans with each other here at FriendFeed, but not the rest of the world -- a mini FriendFeed of our own. We could have set this up on its own machine in the office, but we knew that we weren't alone in our desire and that the right way to go was to extend FriendFeed's capabilities for everyone. And so FriendFeed rooms were born.
A room is simple to set up: You'll notice a new 'rooms' tab at the top of the page. Click it and you're on your way to making your own room and inviting folks to it. You can make a room public so anyone can join it and participate, or you can make it private so only invited people can see it and become members. Whether you're sharing something via the FriendFeed site or using our bookmarklet, you can now designate where you want it to show up in FriendFeed. You can even choose whether you want stuff in a particular room to show up in your main feed or not.
Thanks to rooms, my family has a place to brainstorm travel plans for my Cousin Sara's upcoming wedding, and my Irish dance friends can discuss the merits of different dance shoes without cluttering up everyone else's FriendFeed. Of course, there's already a room for talking about how to make rooms more useful, and it's a good thing too, since this is just the beginning. Of course we've also updated the FriendFeed API to support rooms.
To give you some ideas for what you can do with rooms, here are a few other public rooms created by FriendFeeders:
- FriendFeed News
- Fans of So You Think You Can Dance!
- Thoughts on the new season of The Bachelorette