What is a Lifestream?
In 2007 I was looking for a way to aggregate data I published to multiple services like Twitter, YouTube, Delicious and others in a single online location in reverse chronological order. I did research and found that several people had also been working on doing the same thing. After learning how to do it, I wrote about my original goals and shared the resources I found. I began thinking about all the amazing possibilities a lifestream could offer to enhance our lives and my passion inspired me to create this blog.
The original Lifestream concept originated in 1996 as a project at Yale by Eric Freeman and David Gelernter. They described it as “a time-ordered stream of documents that functions as a diary of your electronic life”. Here is an interview with David Gelernter where he provides more insight. David wrote a book on the subject titled Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox…How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean.
Another concept that goes hand-in-hand with lifestreaming is lifelogging.
What is Lifelogging and the Quantified Self?
Lifelogging was a concept pioneered by Gordon Bell as part of his MyLifeBits project which aimed to capture all personal data in digital form and create software that allowed the ability to search and review it. In recent years new devices such as smartphones, activity trackers and more have allowed us to capture many new personal data that can all be stored in a lifelog. The Quantified Self is a concept that was created around finding ways to analyze lifelogs to help optimize and improve our lives. I’ve created a list of devices, services, and resources for lifelogging and the quantified self here. You can also watch Gordon describe Lifelogging at a quantified self meetup. You can find more resources by visiting this section of the site. I also highly recommend reading Gordon’s book Your Life, Uploaded: The Digital Way to Better Memory, Health, and Productivity
What is a Digital Legacy?
Digital legacy is the idea of preserving our personal digital data (photographs, journals, documents or other data) for the future and after we die. There are several aspects to this which include storing all of our data in a central location with a backup plan, finding ways to present and search through our data, and coming up with a plan to enable someone to inherit our personal data. You can learn more in the Digital Legacy section of this site. To understand aspects of Digital Legacy based on our past and the future I recommend reading a book by Richard Banks titled The Future of Looking Back.
How to Create a Lifestream
1. Start by defining the services you want to use to create your Lifestream. The services listed on that page offer the ability to track our activities such as bookmarking (Delicious), listening to music (Last.fm), sharing photos (Flickr), or creating or liking videos (YouTube).You may already have accounts on existing sites, or want to create new ones.
Here are some more helpful posts to get you started
- Why create a Lifestream? – I provide some insight here. Also check out Lea Woodward who also provides some great reasons to create one here
- 5 elements for a well balanced Lifestream – My thoughts on how you can create a fresh and interesting Lifestream
Here are great resources on the web
- How to create a Lifestream of your online activities – Chris Spooner provides a great tutorial from a designers point of view utilizing Simplepie
- Why are we all screaming for Lifestreaming? – A good post that generated a great conversation in the comments discussing why you may want to be Lifestreaming
- Some thoughts from Dana Lookadoo on why to Lifestream & what is gained