5 Elements for a Well Balanced Lifestream

balance

One of the biggest criticisms I see of Lifestreaming is complaints that it is narcissistic behavior. People also reject them stating that people’s lives just aren’t interesting enough to follow them. A popular negative stereotype of Twitter users is that many just offer up boring updates of what they had for lunch. I’m here to tell you that Lifestreams can be much more than this and I now find many of them to be invaluable.

Think of your Lifestream as a blank canvas. There are no strict rules for what you should paint yours with. I’m here to provide you with 5 elements I use to create mine while trying to keep it fresh and interesting to attract and keep followers.
image courtesy of Flickr user Brent and Marilyn

1. Your Hobby or Personal Passion

All of us have these and finding multiple ways to incorporate them into your Lifestream is great way to keep it interesting. If you create or discover content related to them you should have the related services you use piped into your Lifestream. I use Delicious, Google shared items, and Twitter as a way to share the content I discover on the web with others. I use YouTube, my Blog, and Flickr to create content related to them to share in my Lifestream.

2. Local News / Events

I tend to follow a large number of Lifestreams for people who are local to me in LA and vice versa. I often share events that I attend or have interest in to my Lifestream using Upcoming. I also enjoy taking  photos of my dishes and sharing the location of local restaurants I eat at using Brightkite. You could also share reviews of restaurants using Yelp and add those to your Lifestream.

3. Your Work

We spend so much of our time doing it so it’s an important aspect of a Lifestream. I often discuss tools and services I use to make my job easier or ways to collaborate with co-workers. I also provide updates about what my company is doing or what related businesses are doing in my field. There is plenty of ways to provide both interesting and valuable information to others about your line of work.

4. Funny, Bizarre, Interesting Things

You know those wacky emails you get from your friends with crazy pictures or videos or those really interesting things you discover on a daily basis on the web. I usually will find one from someone whom I follow on Twitter and Retweet it with my witty add-on attached. Another common way I get these into my Lifestream is by favoriting a video on YouTube. There’s usually a handful of these that make their way into my stream on a daily basis and sharing these always provides a nice temporary distration.

5. Personal Life

Yes, regardless of what the naysayers I mentioned in the beginning say, everybody has interesting aspects of their life to share. Whether it’s a trip to a great place where you pipe your images into your Lifestream, or the milestones achieved by your kids, it’s all worthy of sharing. It’s great to get this information and I often find myself using it to spark discussions when I meet these people IRL. It’s also especially nice to provide these updates for long distance friends and family relationships where we don’t keep in touch as often with them.

I also like to share as much of the media I consume as possible. This can provide a pretty strong profile of my interests. I share the music I listen to using Last.fm, Blip.fm, and Pandora. I share books I’m reading using GoodReads, and movies I’m watching using Netflix. Once again, quite often these personal details I discover on other’s Lifestreams are recommendations. I have come across great new music, books,  and have eaten at fantastic restaurants solely based on the Lifestreams of people I follow.

If you need to discover some new services to add to your Lifestream, be sure to check out the Define page for some ideas.

…in conclusion

I follow the Lifestreams of many people that incorporate these and other methods to keep them appealing. I feel Lifestreaming has evolved into a way for people to curate web content and Life’s experiences interestingly in bite sized chunks for the world to see. Lifestreaming has created a new subscription model. I now subscribe to people much the same way I do RSS feeds for blogs. The difference is that my network of Lifestreamers provides a human powered way to bubble up great content to me.

If you create a nice balance of items from the above categories (or others you come up with) in your Lifestream you are likely to attract and retain people who share similar interests who will look to you as  someone to help provide them with daily content as well.

Leave a comment with details of unique ways that you populate your Lifestream to keep it fun and interesting below.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. The thing I tend not to post about on this list is local news/events. You're right, I find myself following many people for this information, but rarely posting on it myself. Perhaps I'm thinking more globally. Good tip.

  2. Great post Mark. I try to keep my lifestream full of valuable content with a diverse selection of services. However, I still run into the problem of sharing too much. For example, I've recently added RSS from daytum.com and tweetwhatyoueat.com to my lifestream (jessicamullen.com). I find including these updates in my public lifestream increases my accountability, but I know it's still too much noise to share on Facebook or even Friendfeed. Maybe if entries at those services were batched into a daily digest they would be more compact and interesting.

    One resulting benefit of lifestreaming is that by chosing to document my life actively, I am constantly forced to evaluate my actions and their impact. As a result, I find myself producing better content. In a lot of ways, lifestreaming is the ideal self-help tool.

  3. These are wonderful tips on how to lifestream.

  4. Jessica, yes some sources need to be thought out more when integrating into a Lifestream depending on the frequency of the updates. I used to incorporate my Last.fm plays which would flood and overtake my stream. The Lifestream WordPress plugin does a good job of rolling stuff like this up into a batch.

    As far as your second comment on Lifestreaming being used as a self-help tool for accountability…that's a very interesting new way I haven't heard of as a usage. Sounds great. You want to write a guest post on that 🙂

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