Oct 5 2009
by Geoff Livingston
Lifestreaming’s back (last blogged about on the Buzz Bin in 2007)! From Steve Rubel’s lifestream-only decision to Jane Quigley’s recent BlogPotomac interview, which pointed-out that mobile lifestreaming technology Posterous has become red hot, lifestreams are the all the rage! But why?
Has technology really become that impressive? Or are we that narcissistic to assume that people want to see EVERY aspect of our lives? Or is this simply using a blog platform to intelligently aggregate content in one place for a core stakeholder group?
I would say a combination of all three. Some who say they lifestream — a la Rubel — really aren’t. Instead they are providing multimedia content in one place — a.k.a. blogging — on a mission, like Rubel’s "Daily links, insights, photos, videos and more on emerging technology."
Blogging vs. Lifestreaming
Let’s define lifestream. From Wikipedia: The term "lifestream" was coined by Eric Freeman and David Gelertner at Yale University in the mid-1990s to describe “…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.”
Blogging isn’t necessarily text only. Blogs are just publishing mechanisms. They range from traditional platforms to more mobile platforms like Posterous. Using a variety of plug-ins and RSS, you can publish almost anything on a blog, and do so in a strategic manner. Blogging to me is on topic, lifestreaming is every piece of content, regardless of a particular mission or stakeholder group.
I assume that you, dear reader, don’t care about my lifestream. You don’t care about my photos, all of my inane Tweets, my geolocation, what I ate, etc. In fact, if you are reading this post, you likely only care about social media, marketing or PR. That’s why I blog, rather than lifestream.
I’m not so foolish to assume you want more than that. That’s why I manage and separate several online media properties, assuming that they cater to different stakeholders, some of whom may actually want more than one property:
To shove all of this down every media users’ throat in one fat pipe — a la lifestreaming — would be a mistake. My ability to effectively impact multiple stakeholders would be dramatically impacted. I figured that out in 2007 when I first played with the concept. So, lifestreaming isn’t really a good communications strategy. Plus, from a privacy perspective, lifestreaming can mess up your personal life.
It seems in social media, there are always these types of paradoxes: Personal branding versus strategic communications; follower counts versus outcomes; noise versus meaning; and now lifestreaming versus blogging.