Life is but a stream?

So last week Edelman PR maven Steve Rubel announced that he was shutting down his longstanding blog, Micro Persuasion, and jumping feet-first into “lifestreaming.”

His new site, the Steve Rubel Lifestream, looks a lot like a blog to me. But he assures me that it isn’t.

Why the switcheroo? As he explains in his farewell post at Micro Persuasion:

Blogging feels old. Publishing today is all about The Flow. Posterous, my new home, feels more like flow and where the web is going so it’s time for me to do the same with my publishing, which will become daily once again!

You may be asking yourself, What exactly is a lifestream?

According to the “about” section of Lifestream Blog (heh), 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.” The Lifestream Blog (chortle) offers links to all manner of social sites that can serve as tributaries to your very own lifestream. If you take pictures, there’s Flickr, SmugMug, Photobucket (no mention of Twitpic, but it could count, too). Video? YouTube, Vimeo and the like. Add social bookmarking, micro-blogging (Twitter, etc.), geo-locating, book-sharing, music-sharing, event-sharing and so on, and before you know it, your stream becomes a flood of information.

It seems that twitter and Facebook already facilitate a lot of that lifestreaming Rubel is pushing. As does Tumblr and Rubel’s platform of choice, Posterous. (Colin Fast — @cfast on Twitter — is the first one to tell me about Posterous, in a comment in my June 11 blog post about the next big thing.) The funny thing about Posterous, though, is that it looks a lot like a blog — with comments, date stamps, etc. When you click on a specific entry, it even gives you a link titled “back to blog” to click to take you back to the main page. It may be easier to feed information to — I haven’t poked around with it yet, so I don’t know — but the interface is very familiar for the end-user.

I see where Rubel is going with this, though. In his latest — um, post? stream? — he differentiates the lifestream from the blog.

“For my purposes,” he writes, “a lifestream is really a thought-stream consisting of insights, links, videos, photos and more.” He describes it as a “digital equivalent of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks.”

Da Vinci recorded notes, drawings, questions and more in his notebooks. Some of these were quite mundane (grocery lists and doodles), others were not. But the body of work was over time, a view of a one individual’s mind (in his case a great one).

My lifestream is not the same. But but the model is. I promise you that if you join me for the journey, we will learn about emerging technology trends together through links, images, video and audio. The difference though between this and a blog is that you will be right there with me as learn about and process new information, doodle about it in my online journal and and share/express my observations in real-time.

So, maybe the lifestream is the next big thing I was thinking about a few weeks ago. I’m just not sure I’m ready to go with the flow yet.

Talking Heads – Take Me to the River (Live)


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

3 thoughts on “Life is but a stream?”

  1. Posterous annoyed me. I think the eternal search for the next big thing is perpetual and never ending. But I’ll just watch and wait until it’s relevant to me before diving in. Besides, it’s a lot easier to “stream your life” when you’ve got a gig that people in lots of places care about or don’t mind turning your life into an internet sitcom.

  2. I think Steve gets paid to let his clients know about the newestest shiny objects, so it makes sense that he needs to understand how they work. As far as the lifestreaming vs. blogging debate goes, it’s all semantics as far as I’m concerned. And we haven’t even gotten into mindcasting ( :).

    I’m also giving Posterous a shot. Not necessarily because it’s the next bright shiny thing, but because it works for me, which is what this all should be about anyway. My $.02 at least.

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