David Armano wrote a post titled 2009 Resolution: Aligning Your Lifestreams which talks about rethinking the usage of your Lifestreaming services and workflow. This is a great post and timely for me as I also realized recently that I needed to do the same.
Ever since I started Lifestreaming I’ve signed up for countless services to test and see how the data could be integrated into my Lifestream. In many cases there may have been services that offer very similar or duplicate services that I used. One example I can point to is for tracking what books I’m reading. I originally found Librarything for tracking and listing books I read and had built out my profile there. I have subsequently switched to similar service GoodReads which offers basically the same data for my Lifestream. I had been importing the data from both of these services into various Lifestreaming services which made no sense. So I migrated any unique data from Librarything to Goodreads and pruned it from my Lifestreaming services.
Another pair of services I use that seem to also provide duplicity are Twitpic and Flickr. I became a fan and user of Twitpic due to the ease at which you could post pictures using Twitter clients such as Twhirl and Tweetdeck. I even began using it more after getting an iPhone with support from several other Twitter apps. I have however started to think that splitting off my photos among 2 separate services is not a good idea. I really think I should solely use Flickr.
Why you ask? Well for one there is a good deal of additional meta data for photos that can’t be imported into Twitpic. Much of this is based on the exif data with the most important items being time/date taken as well as location (geo) information. With Flickr you also get to tap into all the other rich functionality like using titles, descriptions, sets, multiple image sizes, and getting detailed stats. I also use tagging quite a bit and although you can add tags in Twitpic I don’t want to have to duplicate those efforts on both services.
So the obvious barrier to migrate to Flickr is finding similar tools to those I’m currently using for Twitpic. I started using the free iPhone app Airme which uploads photos to Flickr and offers Twitter integration but I haven’t had luck using that feature. I then recently purchased the Mobile Fotos app which offers very rich Flickr functionality and albeit clumsy, offers Twitter integration as well. I then just need Flickr integration in Tweetdeck or other Twitter client and I’m set.
Comparison of data and functionality available on Flickr vs. Twitpic
So besides taking inventory of the services I use and either merging or eliminating them I also think it’s a good time to review your workflow. What do I mean by that? I’m referring to the set of rules used to publish and sync data amongst various services.
For example, most social network and media services all offer the ability to post a status update. In many cases you can also sync those from a single source. I currently only use Twitter for status (or microblog) updates and then sync those to Facebook. Conversely, I also am a very active user on FriendFeed and post many items on there. I have configured my profile to push only the posts I publish manually to be pushed to my Twitter account.
There are other services dedicated to syncing like ping.fm and hellotxt. There are also new tools in the works that will add more functionality than simply syncing adding the ability to filter data with logic before pushing to another service like Tarpipe.
In any case since it is the beginning of a new year I thought it would be a good idea to provide some examples here to encourage you to take a look at some possible ways to streamline your use of services as well as rethink and either add or remove ways you are publishing and syncing data to for your Lifestream. Hopefully this has given you some insight into ways that you can improve yours.
10 thoughts on “Retooling Your Lifestreaming Services and Workflow”
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The problem with Tarpipe or other services that sync or do even more than sync is that they all have a limited repertoire of sites they can work with. Tarpipe has 11. Others are up to 50, but that still is an inadequate arrangement. I use lots of services on the web, but few of them are among the 11 or 50. What is required before this is really going to work is another 'layer' of standards so that I can tell the program where I want it to deposit 'stuff' and it will go and easily find out how to do it. Until then we will all be limping along with inadequate services.
Notwithstanding — reorganizing one lifestreaming seems like a good idea every year.
I have never tried twitpic but my brother got me interested in posterous.com lately. I have been enjoying using that and the way it integrates into twitter. But I deliberately decided to keep it separate from flickr because I don't like mixing the iPhone photographs in my regular photostream. http://michaelkpate.posterous.com/
I also talked to another friend who has started to use posterous as a method of using his mobile phone to post pictures on Facebook and Flickr. I haven't tried it but it seems like it might be worth checking out.
I agree Bob. These services aren't there yet. Logic to do this can definitely get a bit complicated but I'm sure we'll see improvements in this area in the coming year.
Another easy, do-it-yourself solution for piping Flickr photos to Twitter is to designate a tag (say, “post:twitter”) for photos intended for Twitter, grab the feed for that tag, and run it through Twitterfeed. You can then send a photo to Flickr via MMS and include the text “tags:post:twitter” and it will be cross-posted within a half hour or so.
Thanks Nathan. Great tip. I really think someone needs to create a detailed post creating a huge list of methods and hacks for cross posting data among multiple services. This seems to a be quite the wildwest and I'm sure there are some more good tips out there that need to get aggregated in a single place.
Ahhhh agnostic federation of activity streams? A subject near and dear to my heart!
Consider participating on the DiSo Activity Stream Google Group:
And if you have the time, please review, comment, criticize my concept to map activity stream control to any phone or MID's D-pad:
I've currently got Tarpipe set up for two workflows: status and pictures.
Sending an email to my status Tarpipe updates Facebook, Twitter, and Friendfeed.
Sending an email to my picture Tarpipe sends the picture to Facebook, Flickr, and the flickr URL to Twitter
I LOVE being able to easily update my workflow and hope that Tarpipe becomes as usable as Yahoo Pipes someday!
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