Why You Should Be Lifestreaming

I’ve provided little nuggets of info sprinkled in many posts regarding my insights as to why I’ve always felt the Lifestreaming concept was great. What I’ve never done though, is provide a post telling others why they should be Lifestreaming as well.

When I first began covering Lifestreaming, there weren’t any services. In fact there were only a few plugins or scripts that were fairly difficult to setup allowing you to create a self hosted Lifestream. This really limited the scope of people creating them to a small number of tech savvy folks. Here we are just over a year later and anyone can create a rich Lifestream in 10 minutes.

As Lifestreaming has grown in popularity the number of people criticizing the reasoning for creating them has also grown. Many people just don’t get it while others feel it’s just a form of Narcicism which is just a grown up word for when we called people in high school conceited. These folks are just a bunch of haters. I’m here to try and provide several compelling reasons to shut them all up once and for all.

Reason #1 – You create a Lifetream for the benefit of others

Yes, Lifestreaming is done for the benefit of others. Before you break out a whatchya talkin’ bout Willis on me, let me explain. When we hang out with friends in the real world, we may talk about music we’re listening to, movies we’ve watched, places we’ve been, photos we’ve taken, videogames we’ve played, books we’ve read, ,what we’ve been up to and so much more. Lifestreaming offers the ability to create a digital form of this information. The beauty is that we now have many web services that can provide every piece of data in the real world scenario mentioned above. Once the web services are setup, the data is added automatically in a passive manner. Viewing others Lifestreams then become human powered recommendation engines. The data can also provide distant friends & family a window into our lives, or offer great up to date context for enriching conversations when we see them in the real world. These are just some methods that provide value to others.

Reason #2 – To build, control, and promote your online identity

Lifestreaming has become an amazing vehicle that has been turning people into brands. Lifestreaming allows you to paint the picture of who you are to others. You can promote your knowledge in an area filling the services that make up your Lifestream with the content you create and consume to reflect it. Soon enough you will gain readership as an expert in your field and grow a following. Lifestreaming can also be a great way to promote your business, product, blog, etc… If done correctly, this can become a very valuable tool in your social media arsenal.

Reason # 3 – Lifestreams have created a new subscription model

Ok here’s another major development that I believe is causing a paradigm shift. I was an early adopter when it came to RSS. I subscribed to, and consumed most of my information using an RSS reader. It was definitely my primary source for getting data from the web. Even so, it’s impossible to consume it all. We’ve seen some nice developments in services that are using algorithms to filter RSS content for us.

That’s pretty good, but I have now seen a shift where I’m spending more time reading Lifestreams than RSS feeds. Why is this? Because I now primarily subscribe to people instead of RSS feeds. The primary reason is that by building the right subscription recipe of people instead of RSS feeds, I’m now leveraging the ultimate human filtering algorithm to bring me the wisdom of the masses. By selectively following those who are sharing bookmarks, Tweets, RSS shared items, and more, for my areas of interest, I am increasing the chance of having creme of the crop content delivered to me. This shift is treating people as a valued commodity ahead of the content. Yes this is a new concept, but I think it’s starting to happen.

I also want to clarify that I’m not saying Lifestreams should replace reading RSS feeds. Just stating that I’m personally using the human filter before I make my way to an RSS reader. I have mad respect for RSS as it’s one of the essential platforms and was the primary catalyst enabling Lifestreams in the first place.

Reason #4 – Create a personal digital archive of your life

Lifestreams are becoming interactive digital diaries of our lives. While we still have a ways to go for this to become a reality, I see it coming. I can envision a future where I’m reminiscing about my past, going through my Lifestream and re-living old memories. You could locate notable dates in history to see what you were doing & what was on your mind. After we have passed, our great great grandchildren could get a much better understanding of who we were by navigating our historical Lifestream. I can see amazing future applications where you navigate a digital family tree and can drill down on individuals and then start navigating through their Lifestream.

Still not convinced?

Well these are just a few reasons that I could put some thought behind. I’m sure I’ll come up with more and continue updating the list.

Do you have a good reason why people should Lifestream? Post it in the comments and let others know why they should be doing this.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Great article.

    #1 A couple of years ago, I could think of nothing more pointless than posting 'Just loved “Fake Plastic Trees' but now., I think you're right, it's all part of who you are.

    #2 Agreed but my online identity is completely separated from my personal/family. I don't know if that's unsual or if I am just weird. My whole Web presence (from blogging, Twitter, FF, Tumblr et al) is all just a glorious experiment because I am interested in the various technologies.

    However, I tend to tell my wife what happened at work over tea. She knows what photos I've taken and hates 'Fake Plastic Trees' so there's no need for her to religiously check my LifeStream and leave comments. She can just talk to me.

    #4 Possibly. I occasionally scan my blog archives but already, after just 3 months, the Twitter stream (> 1,000 pieces of inane drivel) is very time-consuming to review. Let alone, the aggregated FriendFeed (in my case) stream which would be just overwhelming (without decent tools – visualised timeline similar to Tumblr archives)

    Would I document the URL in my will for my wife & kids to look at. Probably not. So is it just an exercise in self-love and the height of vanity ?

    Andy

  2. Like you I'm using lifestreams more and more now instead of just the feedreader, which now takes 2nd place. Like you mention too – you are subscribing to people which is what is enabling the growth of lifestreaming to be so powerful, we're all now online in many places.
    A great article!

  3. I use my lifestream page primarily to archive stuff. I use tumblr, which I love, but could be hugely improved by adding better archiving features, or at least sorting tagging out.

    I hope these lifestreaming sites start paying attention to things like OpenID, microformats, XFN and so on, making them truly useful, otherwise we are going to have to deal with a big mess down the road.

  4. Besides the others, I really like reason 4. But it makes me wonder: where do we go in the long run? A personal digital archive of your life must last for, well, your whole life.
    But the tech/apps we use didn't exist 10 years ago. So is it possible to say something for the next 10 years?
    And I have trouble trusting my digital archive to another platform, without having a copy of the data for myself. I know others can host things better then I can myself. But the content of the archive itself: I want to really own the data. Because when other services stop, I still can access my archive.
    Another problem: my archive is actually a bunch of links, to other social networks. But can you imagine last.fm going down? Then the whole section of my archive which represents my taste in music is broken? Or someone acquires LibraryThing and starts changing the brand/domain name? My whole bookshelf gone?
    Or do we end up with a river of dead links hoping the link itself, or anything between < a href rel="nofollow"> and < / a >” is still usefull to us?
    Or is it possible to really import or archive “snapshots” of your life. I can see it's easy for Twitter, being just 140 characters, but the other content….
    Any ideas?

  5. Thank you for the article. It makes me want to try out lifestreaming?

    Is there a social service which lets us mark the book we already read, but also able for us to keep updates on our current list, for example if I am reading one book, then I am able to mark that I am currently reading until chapter 7, vol 2, page 100. Then if I read it again, I can change the current read volume and page etc. I am a bit of a bookworm and want to keep my friends updated of what I read.

  6. There are several sites available that can provide details about your reading habits including already read, currently reading, and want to read. You can also provide ratings. Take a look at goodreads.com librarything.com & shelfari.com

  7. so is this the final nail in privacy's coffin?

  8. NO!!! , blogging, tweeting, etc… Really is narcissism in its truest form. It’s masturbatory !! You are jerking off for no one’s pleasure (except your stalkers) but your own, most people’s responses (if there are any ) to your posts or tweets are only to “one up you” if they even respond at all. This truly has become the “look at me” generation!! Tweeting has done for the written word as the lack of foreplay does for sex !! I’m disgusted with anti-social networking. Your ilk has become research fodder for why people play world of warcraft !! Come back to reality!!! Come back to the conversation!! ya tools !!

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