FFFFOUND! Feeds Art Addiction



FFFFOUND! should be classified as controlled substance — the rush or sheer uncut eye candy it delivers can’t be safe. I mean, sure, there are plenty of social image bookmarking sites, but none has nearly the addictive quality of Yugo Nakamura’s invite-only baby. Since I found it back in September, I’ve been there. Hourly. Four reasons:

  • Quality – ffffound is a steady stream of supremely eye popping stuff (political, goofy, sublime). It rewards time spent like few others.
  • Simplicity – the fabulously unencumbered browsing interface allows images pop and suck you in. Voting is a simple click, contributing an image is two. (Copyright may decide the latter is too easy, but let’s hope safe harbor helps.)
  • Language independence – there are no tags, no comments, no categories, no text profiles, not even timestamps. Anyone who uses ffffound has only one communication channel: images. That forces the question: what do these images tell me about the person who bookmarked them? Only later do you realize you’ve been sharing images for weeks with folks you don’t even share a language with. Testimony to the communicative power of art.
  • Emergence – clusters of related images happen with surprising frequency (my recent love affair with whales for example). That’s fascinating considering there’s really no site feature that affords this (no tagging, no linking). Images ebb and flow naturally, inviting users to see patterns, call them out, and contribute to them. (I’d love to see the developers capitalize on this with a lightweight “related to” function.)

But all ain’t well in the land of visual inspiration. With any community content site, you’re going to get pollution and I’ve noticed an ever-so-slight drop in quality over the past month. Can the laser focus on beautiful images be maintained through the addition of so many new users, each with their own notion of what beauty means?

And speaking of the meaning of beauty, there are certainly many types of beauty in the human form. But when you look at the bodies that make it to the top of ffffound, they are often of the half naked female variety. Of course, there are many ways to interpret that result (largely heterosexual male user base, image availability, pop culture programming, etc.) but not everyone’s pleased with it. To form, the debate is happening in ffffound, in images: point / counterpoint. Personally, I like my communities open and uncensored but it would be nice to see more diversity in gender, ethnicity, and body type. Let’s hope a broadening user base brings balance, not dilution.

Ultimately, ffffound is a case study in design restraint. It strips away many of the expected web 2.0 trappings (tags, discussions, rounded corner coitus) and emerges with a streamlined community that’s pretty hard to ignore (or so says my crack addicted optic nerve). The challenge, then, is to grow it without losing the beautiful simplicity and content that make it so special.

Visit me on FFFFOUND! and check out creator Yugo Nakamura. I’ve got a few invites. Drop a comment if you’d like one.

Update: Invites gone!

18 Responses to “FFFFOUND! Feeds Art Addiction”


  1. 1 David Simon

    Crap, not 20 seconds pass on that site before I find myself overwhelmed with unbelievably neat desktop background images. I’m going to have to set up a rotation.

  2. 2 Justin Ruckman

    Break it down Jason, well said.

    One addition I’d like to see as the community grows is a way to express dislike of images — there are whole genres of things on FFFFOUND! I just don’t like, but have enough of a following they keep showing up.

    And I need to watch your stream more closely, you’ve ffffound some crazy hot shit.

  3. 3 Jason

    David: Yeah, ffffound overwhelms with choices, doesn’t it? If you decide to go screen saver instead, there’s one that pulls from the site direct.

    Justin: Thanks! Good point: it might be nice to vote thumbs down, too. Thought I worry about Digg bury style abuse. Hopefully, there’s a reasonable way to avoid that kind of mess. Really enjoyed your post on ffffound as well.

  4. 4 David

    I’ve been loving Ffffound. The content that it’s bringing to the top is amazing. I think the guys/gals who started this little image bookmarking site are on to something. It’s like you said though, if Digg type abuse begins it could turn into a run of the mill “funny picture” site. I really hope that doesn’t happen. However, I’m still an outsider looking in, if you have any invites left to share send one my way. Thanks man.

    putnam[dot]david[at]gmail[dot]com

  5. 5 Jason

    Sent. Enjoy it!

  6. 6 urbansheep

    Ffffound is pure digital crack as it is, true. And what’s best about it is that you can use it as hyperhub — exploring similar pictures and finding new sources all the time. It’s best thing in social/collaborative filtering services for a while, and beats almost everything but flickr’s interestingness algorythms, I think.

    Jason, if you’ve got any invites left and don’t mind sharing it, I would be very grateful. :)

  7. 7 mark

    Hi,
    if you have any spare invites left would you please send me one?
    Cheers.
    fala2000[at]interia[dot]pl

  8. 8 Jason

    urbansheep: Sent!

    mark: Sorry, that was the last one.

  9. 9 urbansheep

    Great, I received it!

    I love the way FFFF handles the whole posting thing and experience. So “inline” and so natural, and – yeah, you’re spot on in your note that it strips down all the decoration, leaving bare web2.0 bones and function. Which becomes another show of minimalistic excellence.

    Actually, after more than two months of surfing it through and beyond as a visitor, I am beginning to get interested in shortcomings and annoyances of FFFF. But what I mostly discover is that minimal interface and focus on logic behind “New for you” make it nearly perfect.

    So, thank you very much, Jason you definitely made my day (and my weekend will be quite a game of discovering the new clusters at F and playing “collect all the tasty stuff”, I suppose). :)

    Thanks a lot!

  10. 10 Mikael

    Hey,

    If anyone has invites left, one would be greatly appreciated :)

    Thx!

  11. 11 tulse

    Me, me to wants an invite :=)

  12. 12 Jason

    Sorry folks, all the invites are gone. I’ll post again if I get more!

  13. 13 Jean Lemay

    I would ***love*** an invite.
    Willing to send Paypal money for it.
    Many many thanks in advance.
    Jean.L at mac.com

  14. 14 Martin

    Just discovered http://vi.sualize.us and it definitely worths a try!

    Is like fffound but without nasty invites, and very user friendly. I use it to save the images I like around on fffound ;)

  15. 15 eric

    I want to get a ffffound.com invite. You should pick me. haha
    eslipowitz (at) gmail.com

  16. 16 Frankie W

    I would love an invite to ffffound!
    Please send it to frankiew4@yahoo.com if you kind souls out there wouldn’t mind!
    I am an artist / designer and would love to contribute.

  17. 17 Gustavo

    No more invites? =/

  18. 18 Emma

    i want to be next in line
    when/if you get more invites :D

    my_name_is_emma77 (at) yahoo.com

    i’m a photographer, with good taste i might add
    and not a man, or a lesbian, so i would never post naked women pictures

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