A few months ago, Twitter significantly updated its new follower email alerts to show you information such as how many followers that person has, how many tweets they’ve sent, and how many users they were following. It’s a decent indication of if the person is someone you actually would want to follow back, rather than making you click through to the site to get that information. However, it was still lacking some context, such as what that person actually tweets about. The service FriendFeed has rolled out an update that adds this context.
Now, when get an email alert from FriendFeed that you have a new subscriber, you get a big FriendFeed logo, followed by the user’s icon and a link to easily “Subscribe back.” Below that though is the key part. You now see: “Here are some of the things XXXXX has recently shared on FriendFeed,” followed by three recent FriendFeed updates from that user. On each of those items there are also links to easily comment or “like” any of the items.
This three element context is a great addition to these updates because it shows you if that user is actually worth following or not. If Twitter had this you could see if that person was simply a spammer as well. Update: There’s also the ability to see which of your friends is subscribed to the person subscribing to you in the email, which is very useful. More on it at the bottom of the post.
FriendFeed has a history of beating Twitter to the punch on a lot of things it should be doing. It had a search that could search tweets well before Twitter, has a functional IM service, and has at least partial “track” functionality right now. Some third-party services like Topify and Twimailer already add this advanced email notification functionality to Twitter, but most user still don’t know about such services.
The new way:
The old way:
The Twitter way:
Update: Oh and I initially missed this, but this is huge as well. The emails will also tell you if people you know are subscribed to the person who is subscribing to you. Obviously, Facebook has had such functionality on its site for a while, but in a notification email, it’s very useful.