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Facebook's purchase of FriendFeed, an obscure social-media platform, is potentially momentous. To understand why, we must understand FriendFeed, a start-up that is ubiquitous among techies and unknown to everybody else. It's a sleek application that acts as a clearinghouse for all of your social-media activities. Post something to Flickr? That will show up on your FriendFeed page. Digg something? FriendFeed will know. Post to Twitter from your phone? FriendFeed will syndicate your tweets. Once you initially tell it where to look, it will collect everything and tell it to the world.
The goal is to make automatic that which is all too annoying to do manually.