Wednesday, March 14, 2007


A little while ago I blogged about workstreaming, "the publishing of work-related activities and events to your remote colleagues, usually via RSS but sometimes in other formats and ways." My flagger pointed to a similar but expansive phenomenon, known variously as lifestreaming or datastreaming or lifelogging.

The idea is that we're online so much, and logging so much of our existence via separate services, that we should be able to compile a timestamped record of our online existence. And since that existence intersects heavily with offline existence, we can do all sorts of autotracking, providing a second memory of our activities. Emily Chang describes it this way:
For now, this activity stream idea is providing the start to a holistic view of my activity across online networks: both my own and the ones I use. In turn, this acts as a conduit for you, the reader. Rather than just a static “recommended links” page or a blogroll, the data stream opens up my activity to you in semi-realtime and at one website. I’ll continue tweaking the content, navigation, and layout so watch for changes. Let me know what you think!
I haven't yet let her know what I think, partially because I'm still thinking through the concept. On the one hand, this seems like a natural progression in the context of net work, in which barriers between work, social, and civic lives tend to fall and in which constant collaboration and communication become necessary for sustaining the sorts of boundary-spanning we have to do. Chang runs a web consultancy (among many other things) and it makes sense that clients, contractors, vendors, etc. know what she's up to. So tracking her location on Plazes, seeing her social chatter on Twitter, and viewing her planned events on Upcoming -- all in one place -- seems like a tremendous resource. Furthermore, a datastream like this obviates the need for other sorts of time tracking for projects; the data are all there, they just need to be tagged or otherwise characterized.

On the other hand, lifestreaming seems to be giving away a lot of privacy, and reviewing her datastream makes me feel like a stalker. I can't imagine sharing this much information with the world. But I suppose we all can and do edit what we feel comfortable sharing. Maybe I'll try something similar with the information I'm already putting out there.

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