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.”
- 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.
- 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?]
- 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.
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.