Lifestreaming, Bitty, and the New Trends in Microblogging

April 20th, 2008 · No Comments · Category: (Web) Technology · Blogging · Innovation · Tools

I’ve been quite a busy bee these past few weeks and been so inconsistent with posting at The WordPress PAD. Other than learning how to use Drupal and Joomla content management systems, and the new WordPress 2.5, I’m also starting a blogging network for bloggers in the City of Oakland where I live, work and play…mostly. In doing the research for the design and development of the blog network, I’ve come a cross some great information, plugins and trends in blogging that all relate in a sense to a term I’ve just recently learned about yet apparently I have always been wanting to express in the perfect (in my mind) web presence. It’s called Lifestreaming. Lifestreaming is basically pulling all your web activities from multiple sources online on to one space, your web site.

First, I came across Yong Fook’s website when looking for a Google Map WordPress plugin for the new directory. Fook’s new website is powered by a Lifestreaming software he developed where all his activities from other popular websites like Flickr, Facebook and so forth are automatically published on his website. Great, huh? The software, Sweetcron is not yet available for download but will be soon enough.

Next, I googled Lifestream to find out more. Lifestream seems to be based on the idea of Tumblr where people posts bits of information about what they’re doing, where they are and so forth in a live streaming series of blog like posts. I also came across a couple of Lifestream Drupal modules and thankfully a Lifestream WordPress plugin, that I will be testing over the next couple of days.

Also, I’d come across the word “bitty” a couple of times and googled it and found the website bitty.com. Bitty Browser is a “picture-in-picture” web application where you can enable navigatable browser windows directly on your website.

Finally, in an article at Mashable about the trend of microblogging and Lifestreaming, and also thinking about a SEED magazine article I read recently about cross-disciplinary collaborations between scientists and designers, I realized that blogging is evolving into a more lucid, palatable everyday exercise that more people can participate in, it just won’t be called blogging.

I love to write long articles, but not always. Then there are those who like to share their lives but don’t have the skill, patience or desire for writing long articles and they just want to share their bits of experiences with friends, family, the world, etc. I’m not a fan of Twitter and Tumblr at all since I don’t like to encourage ADD behavior. Though I do understand it can be purposeful in some instincts to use Twitter and Tumblr for projects and events that are time sensitive, these types of online services are more for the MySpace generation of bit, or micro-sharing.

In the SEED article, “Design and the Elastic Mind” Paolo Antonelli writes “The by-product of adaptability and acceleration, elasticity means being able to negotiate change and innovation without letting them interefer excessively with one’s own rhythms and goals”. This was an eye-opening statement for me to read because as web applications and technology continues to evolve at rapid rates, it’s difficult and completely unnecessary to get on the bandwagon of each new trend. What is necessary so that you do not get left behind in the dust as technology rockets by, is that you take a step back at collective tendencies, at what new web applications and so forth have in common, learn it, understand it and make it make sense for you, if it does at all.

I really like the idea of Lifestream as Yong Fook expresses it visually as a website of streaming life activities. As an artist and conceptualist, I like it. But, like I said, ADD is not my thing. I’m not sure that expressing all your daily thoughts and activities all the time and in real time to the world is useful at all. Cathartic, maybe. I can understand the psycho-social reasons of wanting to be heard, seen, read and so forth. Nonetheless, it’s my feeling to use this new trend towards Lifestreaming and all its virtual manifestations in web applications in more useful, unexcessive ways by building blogs and websites with WordPress, and hopefully soon Drupal and Joomla, where these applications are used as a framework to a purposeful and interconnected web rather than adding to the deluge of bit posts and micro-sharing.

For example, I’m working on using the Lifestream Drupal module or WordPress module to hopefully show the latest blog posts from members of the Oakland blog network since I am not a PHP programmer and can’t seem yet to find a rss feed aggregator that not only publishes multiple feeds, but takes random feeds from all the sources and publishes a set number of them at random on a web page. We’ll see if I can get one of these modules or the WP plugin to do this. My rhythms and goals usually flow towards adapting new trends, innovations and so forth to my needs, not the other way around.