Lifestreaming: Why not a storystreaming platform?

A post on Old Media, New Tricks asks if the era of live-tweeting is over, to be replaced by lifestreaming.

The use of a lifestream — a chronological aggregated view of your life activities — to tell news is very smart, not just for obviously major events, but also for small stories that sometimes come to life and require more thorough and real-time documentation.

Thinking of each story as an individual “life” helps identify the opportunity for developers to create or modify a platform that can meet the needs of news organization, a platform for “storystreaming.”

  1. Story-centric: Current lifestream solutions, at least those I’m familiar with, document a person’s life, but every story includes multiple characters, events and plot. A storystream platform needs to document a the events of a story, not a person.
  2. Realtime curation: A good news story probably shouldn’t include the many distracting, unrelated actions in that person’s lifestream. To use a cliche example, we don’t need to know what our protagonist had for breakfast. A storystream platform needs to give an astute curator the ability to filter content as it arrives. [Distracting caveat: I did say a good “news” story. Some of the best “story” stories include tasty details, like the color of the hot sauce that our protagonist pours on his fried eggs every morning. Might lifestreaming harken the rebirth of narratives?]
  3. Integration: Any piece of information can become a story. If a news site already produces a blotter, each item should have the ability to become a story and a storystream. It isn’t enough to be able to provide a widget that can be embedded into a current publishing platform via a content management system.

Twitter fans, don’t fret. Lifestreaming won’t replace “microblogging,” and neither will the umpteen other Twitter-killers that surface every month. Instead, we’re witnessing the growth of a web-based storytelling ecosystem, with each tool relying on the other to survive. The way I see it, Twitter is becoming the all-important bottom feeder that the storytelling ecosystem relies on for survival.

By the way, my observations come from my own experiences when I created the following presentation back in January, which ReadWriteWeb used in it’s post, Sorry Google, You Missed the Real-Time Web!

If you want to learn more about lifestreaming make sure to follow the Lifestream Blog by Mark Krynsky.

Hat tip to Daniel Honigman for asking me for my thoughts on the post.

Update: I had the chance to talk with David Bausola, who is working on a similar project.

5 thoughts on “Lifestreaming: Why not a storystreaming platform?

  1. "Any piece of information can become a story."

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I think it comes down to two things: storytelling and resources. Is a story or event big enough to warrant multiple reporters? Is there compelling multimedia content?

    I wish there were more news organizations and corporations experimenting with lifestreams.

    • I think a lot of the story-streaming features could be accomplished with relatively little effort — a sentence-long post here, a photo posted there, a document uploaded later. Most streams could be maintained by one reporter with the stream effects aggregating over time.

      Granted, that wouldn't be real-time updating, but most stories aren't going to have enough information to support real-time updating anyhow.

  2. I'm sitting on the sidelines for this one until I see whether it's really just (a) a version of FriendFeed, or (b) a version of Instapundit, or (c) something different. If I'm getting somebody's snippets at a rate of five to seven per day (what Steve Rubel suggests — http://www.steverubel.com/), I think I would rather get them in the 140-character format of Twitter. Maybe I'll stick some of these new lifestreams into my RSS reader, but right now I am not sold.

    Your storystreaming idea holds potential for certain kinds of stories, perhaps, but probably not most.

    Moreover, it seems too short on data organization. Tagging several items per day is likely to yield just a big old heap of undifferentiated stuff rather than a usable system for further investigation or background. I might be wrong. But I am skeptical about the utility in this.

    • Mindy – I believe there are different types of lifestreams. Some are more blog-like (e.g. Tumblr, Posterous) and some are more feed-like (e.g. FriendFeed, Facebook). The blog-like lifestreams are viable stand-alone entities, which is not to discount the feed experience, which may be more valuable for interaction.

      With lifestreaming, I don't think it's an either/or scenario. Lifestreams and socialstreams fit into each other.

  3. http://www.MediaTuner.com allows you to manually moderate user text and media – or automatically have the media (video, photos, live video, tweets etc.) displayed – in an Embeddable Flash Player. You can create News Streams for news stories, Event Streams for Events (hot day in Austin) LifeStreams for people, or Product Streams for brands and products and Topic Streams for emerging topics.

    A great tool for progressive online newspapers.

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