Directory of Lifestreaming

By | May 11, 2007

I probably should lump all these into the Directory of Attention, but I’m not going to.

Don’t look for a definition of lifestreams on Wikipedia, because it will take you to a Final Fantasy VII page. The term actually goes back to at least 1997, when Eric Freeman and David Gelernter saw it “as a network-centric replacement for the desktop metaphor. As their project page (last updated in 2000) at Yale put it:

A lifestream is a time-ordered stream of documents that functions as a diary of your electronic life; every document you create and every document other people send you is stored in your lifestream.

They in turn say they got it from David Gelernter’s “chronicle streams.” Web 2.0 has picked up the ball and run with it, redefining it on the way. As Mark Krynsky, creator of the Lifestreamblog points out, the lifestream is now called lots of different things:

The blog defines the lifestream thus: “In its simplest form it’s a chronological aggregated view of your online activities.” I wouldn’t quarrel with that, although of course it’s no longer purely about online activities. Indeed, Jaiku and Twitter have made it easy, indeed desirable, to add more data to your stream than just the when, including

  • where (location via Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS)
  • how (how updating: via SMS? GPS? web?)
  • what (you’re feeling/ doing/ eating/ listening to/ watching/ using/ reading/ browsing/ writing/ photographing/ commenting on)
  • with (other people, things, animals, tools/equipment)
  • while (listening to music etc)

Tools to build lifestreams: There’s a great list here, again, from the excellent lifestreamblog. Basically they can be divided into the meta data that is added without your input and that which you consciously enter (upload photos, adding data, commentary via Twitter etc).

To those I’d add a few more:

Needless to say, the only services that survive will be those that

  • can easily import and export all kinds of streams
  • add a little something more than just gathering together streams
  • work on all platforms, at the computer and away from it

More suggestions etc welcome.

2 thoughts on “Directory of Lifestreaming

  1. Kelly Abbott

    Hi, Jeremy. I started a response to this post here and it turned into a blog post. You know how that is, I’m sure. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know my thoughts and to tell you that I appreciate your attention on the subject of Lifestreaming. If you want to talk further, I’m willing.


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