This post is a comparison of the different features of lifestream services, it’s not a complete picture, I’m taking a few examples to outline the obvious differences.
A straight forward lifestream service is Profilactic, very simple, yet very effective, it gets the job done nice and cleanly:
- an aggregated stream of your content called a mashup (even as a widget)
- links to all your profile pages (even as a widget)
- a list of all your profilactic friends (where you can msg them)
- an aggregated stream of the content from all your profilactic friends called a friend mashup.
- you can even link blog in a section called clippings (a bookmarklet is offered)…and of course clippings appear in your mashup
It’s a very effective lifestream social network where you have a list of your profiles and stream, and same goes with your friends view.
But these are your profilactic friends, what about friends that are not registered.
Another thing is that it is only a profile aggregator, it’s not a two way thing where you can post to your different profiles.
You can’t re-share items to your friends or comment on items
And you don’t get an activity stream like the Facebook Newsfeed, meaning you don’t know what friends have been up to in the network (I guess this is not as essential as it’s more about what you do outside the network than in the network).
More so the activity stream would be better if it tracked activity from the actual networks you are aggregating.
I have outlined 10 essentials to lifestreaming:
- profile links
- friends in the network (break into sections)
- friends stream (break into sections)
- external friends (and comment, msg their profiles from the one spot)
- post and notifications to other profiles
- re-share and comment items
- activity stream
- msg friends
- output (widgets, RSS and OPML)
What other services add to the mix
Plaxo Pulse does all of the above, and also has:
- address book (your contacts not registered with Plaxo can still be kept as a list)
- add link, video, message to your stream
- break up your contacts stream into different streams
- RSS feeds
Only thing is I can’t see my lifestream or my friendstream by content type.
Ziki does all that Profilactic does and more:
- blog posts into your stream (not just links)
- tag cloud from all your aggregated content
- search your content
- people tags (this makes it an expert locator)
- reading list
- activity stream
- sidebar links and widgets
What Ziki doesn’t have is an internal friendstream, it has links to my internal friends, but not a mashedup content stream.
It also doesn’t let you re-share and comment on items.
And yikes, no widget of your profile links, or stream!
I’ve chosen the 3 services above as random examples of lifestream services, see my list for lots more lifestream services, I also have posts on those lifestream services with friendstream and groupstream features.
The main thing we see missing is a two way channel, ie. being able to post to your profiles from within your lifestream, and to receive notifications from stuff that’s happening in your profiles.
1. NOTIFICATIONS - I’d like to see new comments to my blog, private messages from friends in various profiles, links people send to me in my social bookmarks, replies to my presence posts, etc…
2. POST - I’d like to post to my blog and other profiles, or add an item from my friendstream to my bookmarking profile, presence stream, my social network.
And also send a message or comment to my friends various social networks.
3. ACTIVITY - I’d like an activitystream to see who did what to who from all my networks
Just before we take a look at who provides these features, it is essential that we mention sites that allow you to add contacts/friends even though they are not registered with your lifestream service…this way you can still get an external friendstream.
FriendFeed and Tabber have a friendstream, but if your friends aren’t registered you can also make profiles on their behalf, if they decide to join later you can replace the profile with their one.
Spokeo, Blueswarm and Lijit will attempt to fetch all your friends profiles when you enter their name and email.
MyLifeBrand, Fidg’t, upscoop, Profile Linker, Loopster and Plaxo Pulse add external friends as contact links only.
Plaxo Pulse groups is a grouplifestream of all the members, so if you make a group about the product Jajah, you’d have to get some sort of way for a machine to scan the group member lifestreams for terms like jajah, voip…in fact the Jajah group page has some tags that describe the group. At the moment you are just seeing a mashup of lifestreams of all the members, this is similar to a friendstream…the idea is for a topicstream isn’t it.
Mugshot groups are similar, but each group is divided into 2 sections “Group activity” and “Updates from group members and feeds”
The “Group activity” part seems to be explicitly shared links found on Mugshot that are related to the topic…outside links can also be added…and blog posts made within Mugshot.
The other section is simply a combined lifestream.
Other features are, add external RSS feeds, and group chat (even on items).
Still I’d like to slightly alter my lifestream profile per group, instead of using my general del.icio.us RSS feed, I would like it to use a del.icio.us tag RSS feed, same goes with tagged blog posts.
Or as mentioned above, get a machine to scan the items from the “Updates from group members and feeds” stream and whack them into the “Group activity” stream. That way one stream is very item from the lifestreams of all members, and the other stream is only those items from the lifestreams of all members that are related to the topic, plus items that are explicitly placed there eg. sharing a link, writing an inhouse post.
UPDATE: See Onaswarm lifesteram groups below.
(Inboxstream) Notification > Read content > Post (Outboxstream)
Other streams are Clickstreams, Commentstreams, Replystreams, but what’s relevant here is the Inboxstream, basically the notification stream, where you get all your email notifications in the one spot, so you know who is interacting with all your profiles in the one spot. This is usually your email account, but a service like Fuser can be your dashboard for not only your email accounts, but all your social networks, this is not about lifestreams, this is about productivity, a way to receive notifications, read content, and even post back.
They have a way to import all your friends and even get summaries of who you interact with the most.
So far I only see this functionality in Fuser, some footer buttons like ShareThis enable you to post to various profiles.
As mentioned above posting is also being able to post to your blog, sharing an item on a friends profile, maybe even messaging a friend.
ProfileLinker may have some light weight features to this effect.
In Ziki and Plaxo Pulse we have an activitystream of what your Ziki friends or Pulse friends have been doing, but it doesn’t tell me what my Ziki friends have been doing with people at their other profiles…the idea is one centralised activitystream.
Socialstream may very well be the solution to what I’m asking in this post. It will be more than lifestreams, it will be read/write, a central spot to interact, but it will be even more than that, since it could be a Google product in the making, it may be our web dashboard, our productivity centre…but in the meantime what else do we have…
In comes Lifestrea.ms, straight off the bat, the wonderful post by Michael Pick tells us that we can publish to all our profiles from within lifestrea.ms. eg. if you upload a photo to Lifestrea.ms is can be sent to Flickr at the same time.
We see presence network services like Utterz and mobypicture among others offering posting to multiple sites, but we haven’t yet seen a lifestream service doing this.
More from Michael Pick:
“The same goes for videos that will can be uploaded to YouTube, blog posts that can be sent to your Wordpress blog, Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce updates, and a lot more besides.
The net result is less an aggregation service than it is a “nerve center”, a single location that you can both gather and author the vast majority of your social media from without having to visit multiple websites.”
All I need now is one bookmarklet, click on it and send it to your blog, Twitter, Facebook, del.icio.us, Flickr, YouTube, etc…or you can cross post to all these sites from your Lifestrea.ms account…this is the first robust read/write lifestream.
The other added value is we can make several profiles, one for a particular audience eg. my family profile may not have my del.icio.us links included as I collect tech stuff, and my family isn’t interested in that.
afeeda enables you to create 3 stream profiles, at this point I’m not sure if you are actually creating multiple profiles at Lifestrea.ms, rather variations based on a profile set.
eg. enter a whole load of feeds from my profiles and then choose which of my Lifestrea.ms profiles can stream these feeds.
So I have several Lifestrea.ms profiles based on a backend feed set.
Not sure, like Plaxo Pulse, if it enables us to organise our Friends into separate streams for managing purposes.
Another feature is that it will fetch inlink feeds to all your profiles, this way you can keep up with sites that talk about you and link to you, generally called an “ego feed”.
What else…you can read your Gmail, access your Gcalendar, so rather than Plaxo having inhouse productivity tools, you are using 3rd party tools via Lifestrea.ms…all this is starting to blur with startpage social networks.
Not going to go into details…it does everything good lifestream services do, aggregate your profiles, comment, rate, tag, share items, msg friends.
Get Facebook notifications, and post to Posted Items, get friends status messages…will I get del.icio.us links for you, will I get blog comments to moderate, will I get Twitter @replies, will I get and send a private Facebook message, will I get my YouTube comments.
I haven’t used Lifestrea.ms yet, but from the post linked to above we have a thorough tour of all their features, what I still can’t do:
- I can post to all my services, but can I post to my friends comment wall from one of my networks or private msg a friend from one of my networks
- will I get notifications and the content of the notification from any interaction people have with me from all my profiles
- I can add friends from Facebook, and my email contacts, but what about friends from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter..and next to my contact list be able to send each friend a message or comment on any service we mutually use.
- can I make lifestreams for my contacts not registered with Lifestrea.ms, and will it make it easy like some of the other services by entering my friends name and then presenting me with various profiles around the web from this friend.
- can I get an activity stream to see what my Facbook friends are doing to each other, what my SlideShare friends are doing to each other, etc…ie a meta-news feed.