SecondBrain – The First Complete Social Aggregator

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Sometimes we look at great innovation and are compelled to compare like creations in evaluating them. More often than not it is the differences between websites that appeals to us. All these startups of the last two years have so much in common, but useful aspects outside commonality are sometimes the reasons we choose one over the other. In the case of SecondBrain even slight differentiations mark a truly fascinating development. It is important to let people know about all their choices and that is the reason for this article – to make Search Engine Journal readers aware of a fantastic tool and a worthwhile community.

SecondBrain Is Not FriendFeed

In a conversation the other day someone in the know asked me the difference between SecondBrain and FriendFeed. SecondBrain has an entirely different philosophy and methodology when it comes to content. FriendFeed is essentially a “Twitter like” instant notification of people’s activity around content. The service is well designed and effective for what it does, but SecondBrain is a much deeper platform for sharing and building life streaming events and content. SecondBrain uses API access for more in depth access to services while FriendFeed utilizes RSS to grab snippets of information. Aside design differences and aesthetics, the ability to mix and share content on SecondBrain is not resident for the FriendFeed user.

FriendFeed : simplicity is not always desired …this image conveys limitation

While the FriendFeed content is generated by users from their services, it is not as dynamic as the collections of data on SecondBrain. One might call Friendfeed a very good ticker tape of activity, while SecondBrain is an interactive Library. With upcoming features like advanced site search and messaging, SecondBrain will further delineate itself from this “perceived” competition, where no competition actually exists. The two developments are actually completely different in design and purpose.

Profilactic Prevents What?

Profilactic, besides being spelled wrong, is nothing more than another Twitter like application except with a ton of services attached. The service is very useful, but I believe it will soon be obsolete as developers come to drips with the fact that not everyone on the planet wants a digital variant of “The Truman Show”.


SecondBrain, as discussed previously, is not really a competitor for either of these platforms because the goals are much more dynamic in the end. The world’s largest online library of content is a far cry from letting friends know you visited several sites today.


Sites like Profilactic essentially prevent a user from missing out on their friend’s activity while doing lunch, while SecondBrain is building a library and a community.

Terms Defined

Community is one of those Buzz words we have all come to love and hate at the same time. I suppose we could loosely define FriendFeed and Profilactic as communities, but I think they are really just TV sets into some activities of friends. SecondBrain on the other hand has these capabilities vie LifeStream, while continually adding more community based features. The numbers of services at the former two aggregators are impressive, but not when one looks at what some of these services are. SecondBrain is clearly behind in this regard.

However, we must always look to the future of a startup in order to evaluate them. SecondBrain got behind because of a technical issue, but has maintained the same vision throughout. These other services (and there are many examples in other venues) are geared to cling to super popular niceities like Twitter and Facebook. A real application should do more than “holler” at other people in the end. Twitter is not something to emulate, but rather something to use. This is where FriendFeed and Profilactic missed the boat. When people grow weary of the Lifestream, there will be nothing beneath it.

Phil Butler
Phil Butler is theEditor at Everything PR, Argophilia Travel News,  and Senior Partner at Pamil Visions PR. He’s a widely cited authority on beta startups, search engines and public relations issues, and he has covered tech news since 2004. Phil wrote in the past for ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Profy, SitePoint, Search Engine Journal, AltSearchEngines. Follow Phil on Twitter or send him an email at phil [at] pamil-visions [dot] com.
Phil Butler
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  • Social Marketing Journal

    It’s great to see a new tool everyone can benefit from that isn’t just a copycat of another. We’re going to check it out for ourselves and look forward to using it to our advantage! Thanks!

  • Jason

    Going to check out Second Brain today!

  • Make Money Talks

    Checking right now, looking nice! 😉

  • Mig

    We reviewed Secondbrain already and we think it does have the potential to become the next big thing in social aggregation. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there is another social aggregation service so complete. In my opinion, SB should add some more features, not only services. These features should enable a better “network” functionality – like chat for example. A WordPress widget would also be nice.

  • Phil Butler

    This helps Mig ..obviously ..I had little space and time to add these aspects of is cool that you were forthright enough to inlude them here. SecondBrain does in fact have superb potential.



  • Lars Teigen

    Wow – thank you for a great post Phil. I always appreciate your analysis and I think you were able to convey the most important differentiating aspects of S|B compared to all the other aggregators out there very well.

    That said – I think both FF and Profilactic do their thing well. I enjoy using them as benchmarks and references for our lifestreaming features, and I’m proud to be compared to them. For some people they offer exactly what they need. But SecondBrain is about more than lifestreaming. We want to be a more permanent catalog of people’s content, wherever it may originate from. SecondBrain is for the collectors and organizers – people who like to keep things in order and use S|B as a reference for stuff they’ve collected and shared previously.

    These are exiting times for us right now – the beta is just out of the door – traffic is picking up – and we have so many things in the product roadmap that we want to show you guys. Many more services, lots more content management features, and of course, the social aspect will not be forgotten. The more people sign up for the service – the more I see the need for better user2user communication tools. I think we’ll have a @username feature released soon.

    Let me also add that being early stage is both a challenge and an opportunity. The main challenge is to be able to launch and grow the community even though everything is not finished yet. But the opportunity – and this is great – is that anything and everything is possible:)

    I look forward to getting suggestions from your readers – we take user feedback very seriously b/c we know that if we can make S|B work for you – we can make it work for everybody.

    Thanks again – and kudos to FF and Profilactic for inventing in the lifestreaming space with us.


  • favorluxury

    yes,please checking right now

  • gohandbag

    yes,please checking right now

  • Boston SEO

    Another social media network. Seems like it isn’t a duplicate Facebook though. Might as well check it out.