Mulling on lifestreams

I keep playing around with the idea of “life-streaming” but have never quite embraced it the way some people, especially Steve Rubel, have. The closest I come is my FriendFeed profile, which aggregates MMM, CT.WP, Twitter, Delicious, Google Reader and a bunch of my other profiles and accounts, some of which I don’t use all that regularly. That, to my mind, is what a lifestream should be – a single touch-point for all those disparate profiles and outlets where people can go to find everything I do online.

But Steve’s now thinking differently, with a post about how his lifestream is turning more from that model to one that has him posting in one place, with that then being distributed to all those outlets.

Looking at the graphic he uses, the Posterous model increasingly looks backwards to me. Yeah, that’s exactly what Posterous does – easy posting to its platform with it then auto-posting to those other profiles. This isn’t a lifestream, it’s more like lifedistribution. As an example: All of Steve’s Posterous posts are pushed to Twitter, but not all of his Twitter updates are shared on Posterous. Lifestreaming, I think, should aggregate and not distribute since a distribution model means I still have to connect with you on multiple platforms whereas an aggregation model means I get a one-stop-shop.

I get what he’s saying about signal-to-noise ratios, but there are ways to manage that. Cut your RSS feeds, create a “Priorities” column in Tweetdeck, come to the conclusion (as I have) that hanging out on Facebook all day adds nothing of value. The only reason that ratio is lower for him right now is that Posterous has yet to truly explode into the mainstream, despite a number of high-profile people who have adopted it quite fully. Give it a couple of Newsweek stories and that will change.

I’m not ragging on Steve – it’s working for him and that’s great, even if I see some problems with it. We all do what works for us and what makes sense in our own minds, just like we all like music that makes sense to and speaks to us. I just don’t quite agree with him on what the real promise of it is or on what the real value of Posterous really is.

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