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What the Heck is a Lifestream?

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Yesterday at day 1 of BlogWorld, I sat in on Steve Rubel’s presentation on Lifestreaming and business. He had some solid observations and recommendations for businesses to become ubiquitous Online. If you’re familliar with Steve’s blog (if you’re not you need to be) or read this blog regularly then you’re familliar with most of what was discussed.

He talked about Posterous (which BTW is pronounced ‘pause-terous’ not ‘post-erous’ like I thought) and how he uses it for a hub and spoke model of publishing. I’ve never thought of Posterous as Lifestreaming. FriendFeed to me ia lifestreaming.

While Steve calls Posterous his Lifestream I don’t really see Steve using it like that. To me Lifestreaming implies a certain amount of frequency of posting. Steve has only posted 12 times this month to his Posterous account. His Twitter account has significantly more and FriendFeed has even more than that because it pulls in several of his Online services.Now my point isn’t to nitpick on Steve. Honestly my personal take that if Steve wants to call his site his life stream then that’s what it is. Heck, he could call his Twitter account, corporate bio page or his cat his Lifestream and that’d be fine with me (okay maybe not the cat).

But it raised an interesting question for me; What is Lifestreaming? So I asked Steve what he thought. The general consensus is that the practicle application of a what is a Lifestream is still being determined. But he did recommend the Lifestream Blog, which I found has a pretty good description of what a Lifestream is on it’s about page:

What is a Lifestream?

In it’s simplest form it’s a chronological aggregated view of your life activities both online and offline. It is only limited by the content and sources that you use to define it.

Where did Lifestreaming Originate?

Lifestreaming originated as a concept in 1996 as a project at Yale by Eric Freeman and David Galernter. The original concept has come to fruition with the ability to create and distribute content utilizing many new technologies. Here is an interview with David Galernter where he provides more insight.

At this point I don’t think it matters that much what people call their Lifestream, but like I’ve said before we have these debates in order to come to some comcensous and that standard definitions are important to moving the industry forward.

So I’d like to know how do you define Lifestreaming? What does it mean to you?

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • BryanPerson

    Tac: Great question yesterday for Steve. We really are still figuring this all out and I think Steve is able to push the discussion by calling his site a “lifestream,” even if it really feels like a blog that also includes content pushed to different social channels.

    Get ready for my hard-hitting questions later today. Maybe I'll ask YOU to define lifestreaming!

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Bring it on, Bryan! LOL. I agree, I think it's great that Steve's
    raised awareness around Lifestreaming beyond FriendFeed because it is
    an activity or publishing type not a platform.

  • http://kbskobac.blogspot.com kskobac

    I guess if Posterous is really being used as the starting point for all online content it makes more sense as a lifestream, but to me Rubel has more rebranded and reset expectations for his blogging efforts - i wrote my thoughts on Louis Grey's post here: http://blog.louisgray.com/2009/10/communicating...

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Yeah, with the exception of the distribution what Steve is doing is really much more like what blogging used to be 5-6 years ago.

  • http://Lifestreamblog.com Mark Krynsky

    Thanks for the mention Tac. The description I wrote which you mentioned was written when I started the blog back in early 2007. It was that concept (primarily the aggreagation of 3rd party services on a single page) that was being developed that I latched on to. Now it seems that it is harder to define as many different people see Lifestreaming in different ways. I think it's still primarily referenced with regards to aggregation, but it's now going down many vertical paths that include brandstreaming, storystreaming, travelstreaming, and countless others. I don't know if we'll ever get to a standard industry definition because of this. Although I'm not so concerned with an industry definition as much as I am a open standard that can be adopted like RSS. Right now the closest thing to that is the ActivityStrea.ms initiative.

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