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Organize Your Digital Life 6 – Streamline your lifestream

This is the sixth in a series of posts in the Organize Your Digital Life series.

Whether you realize it or not, most of you are creating a “lifestream” of some sort.  Your Twitter updates, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and other assorted items are out there on the web in a haphazard fashion.  Getting that organized can be beneficial in a lot of ways.

For most people, there are two aspects of this that need to be tweaked:

  • Posting updates to a wide variety of services, rather than having to update each service individually.
  • Getting all of your various updates (status, pics, vids) to show up in one place.

:: Posting updates to a wide variety of services

I wrote a fairly comprehensive post on this a few weeks ago, which pretty much tells you what you need to know.  In a nutshell, I recommend that you use to handle the bulk of your updates.  It takes some time to configure for the first time, but once you have it set up it’s a huge time-saver.  You can post one status update on there and it’ll post to all of your networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and about 50 others.  It’s superb.

For photos and videos, I’ve started using Posterous.  It’s a very popular micro-blogging tool that allows you to post new items via email, from their site, or using a mobile app.  It can be configured to post to a variety of services, to the point where it duplicates much of what does.  However, Ping can post to a lot more, so I confine my Posterous posting to simply images and video.

It may look a bit confusing a first, but check out the image below.  Depending on what kind of item I want to push out (on the left), you can see the path that it takes.  All of that really only requires setting up accounts on two sites (Ping and Posterous), assuming you already have accounts on the destination sites.

outgoing-lifestreamThe only real downside to this setup is that pictures and videos don’t get pushed out to the “various other microblogging sites”.  It’s a small price to pay, since Twitter/Facebook are the main ones for me right now anyhow.

:: Getting all of your various updates to show up in one place.

This one isn’t as important to most people, but I’ve just spent some time figuring out the best way to handle this so I thought I’d share my findings.

My goal was to create a single page that would always pull in my latest “stuff”; blog entries, twitter posts, flickr photos, youtube videos, etc.  Here’s what I considered:

  • storytlr: From what I can tell, this site did exactly what I wanted.  Unfortunately, they’re shutting down at the end of 2009.  Quite a shame…
  • posterous: If I chose to push my status updates through Posterous, it would essentially contain my lifestream.  Some people do it this way and it works well.  However, I have a lot of other sites configured in that I don’t want to leave out.  Posterous is adding new features constantly, and it might fit the bill in a year or two.
  • Sweetcron: This is a nifty script that you can load on your server.  It’s very customizable and you can do a lot with it.  I ran it as my lifestream for a while, but it seemed to have some issues (duplicate posts, broken videos, etc).  When I went to get a newer version of the code, I found that it hadn’t been updated in over a year.  It’s never good to hitch your site to an abandoned tool.
  • This had it all in theory, but the site seemed quite buggy to me.  I sometimes couldn’t add new feeds, things wouldn’t appear, etc.  Also, ideally, I’d like the lifestream to show up on my domain, not theirs.
  • wp-Lifestream: A lifestreaming plug-in for WordPress.  It supports a large number of sources and integrates nicely into WordPress.

I tried all of them to some degree, and ended up going with wp-Lifestream.  Not only does it support the usual suspects, but it has a few neat ties to other sites (like Gowalla).

The result is my lifestream page. It pulls in:

  • My latest posts on this blog
  • My latest images posted to Flickr
  • My latest videos posted to YouTube
  • My latest Tweets
  • My latest check-ins using Gowalla
  • My latest posts on a few other blogs I write for

It’s certainly not perfect, but it works well.

What do you use for your lifestream?

This is the sixth in a series of posts in the Organize Your Digital Life series.

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Mickey Mellen

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  1. I do not see a reason to post an update to more than 50 networks if I participate in just 2 -fb & twitter.

    I use to handle my updates and to bring in one place the different stuff I share.

  2. Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to provide one thing again and aid others like you aided me.

  3. I do trust all the ideas you have offered for your post. They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for starters. May you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.


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