About a month ago I followed a link from a post on Web Worker Daily that mentioned Emily Chang. I hadn’t heard of her before, so I was curious. The first post on her blog at the time was about building a personal data stream, also referred to as lifestreaming. The idea is that you mush all of your personal content, Flickr and blog posts and Upcoming.org events and Last.FM data and so on, all into a single feed or webpage.
I kept wishing I could look at all my social activity from 2006 in context: time, date, type of activity, location, memory, information interest, and so on. What was I bookmarking, blogging about, listening to, going to, and thinking about?
Since then I’ve been playing with various tools to do this. I’ve already posted about Twitter more than enough, so I’ll just add that if you were to post about absolutely everything that happened during your day, it could accomplish Emily’s goals above. But I’m lazy, so I’d rather find some other way to collect things.
I signed up for Jaiku. It has similar short message and friends features to Twitter, but you can also import your other feeds. It’s not a bad site, but I haven’t found it terribly useful. The only contact I have on there is Stowe Boyd, and that’s because I saw it on his blog.
After that, I decided to try Tumblr. Pretty much the same features as Jaiku, but I like the page layout better. Also, when it grabs multiple posts from an imported feed, it shows each one separately. I don’t spend that much time on their site, but I used Feedburner to plant my last 10 Tumblr items on my main webpage, replacing the previous “current status” script that was months out of date because I kept forgetting to write an update.
And that’s probably where this experiment will stop, aside from adding feeds to Tumblr. I don’t know how useful it really is to aggregate all of this on to one page. No one else seems to be subscribed to the meta-feed yet, either. I like having it on my main page, so that people who happen across my site see recent activity, but otherwise?
The thing I really want, as a next step, is to aggregate all of my inbound content into a single pool. Mail, calendar entries, the feeds I subscribe to, friends on Livejournal, my web stats… It would be really nice to have a single location for everything I read or monitor. But that’s a pretty big data organization project.