Can someone please explain “lifestreaming” to me? Because I don’t quite get it. Yes, I read Steve Rubel’s post. I’ve had a Posterous account for a while but never really got into it. I’ve seen all of the recent sexy statistics about how Tumblr has taken off. It’s certainly a trendy topic of late, but it still doesn’t quite make sense to me.
I can understand how it may work for people who don’t want to fully commit to blogging or want a place to quickly and publicly throw up pictures or blurbs. My sister-in-law has actually done this for the past year with a Tumblr page since my nephew was born (warning: cuteness abounds). It was much easier for her to create a Tumblr page than a full-on blog. She’s able to post photos, brief video clips and the occassional paragraph or two.
I can also see where folks with common names might use Tumblr or Posterous as their primary site if their preferred domain name was taken. Mike Germano does this (and doesn’t always seem to happy about it; I think if he had his druthers he’d love to wrestle mikegermano.com away from his jazz musician name-twin). However, I’ve also seen people, like Kris Colvin, use Tumblr as the platform to run their self-hosted Web domain, like you would with WordPress or TypePad. My friend Jeff Bean at Bike Crave touts Tumblr’s “cleanest, most spare design ever” as its biggest benefit.
But if someone already has a blog with a domain name, what benefit does lifestreaming add? I’m not trying to be combative here; I’m genuinely curious.
Sure, there are pieces of the Web I find now and then that I want to share. Maybe it’s something worth sharing but isn’t appropriate for my blog or doesn’t inspire me to write an entire post about. In that case I’ll tweet the link if I want to share it publicly. If I want to add my own commentary and I can’t keep it under 140 characters, I’ll probably post it to Facebook for those behind my walled garden to see. I suppose in those cases I could be sharing and sending those links to a Posterous or Tumblr page. But can we really count on those who follow us to check out our blog AND our Twitter stream AND our Facebook wall AND our lifestream? (Yes, I know that’s what Friendfeed and other aggregators are for, but Lord knows I haven’t figured out that one yet either.)
Stuart Foster argued a few weeks ago that he’d rather read fleshed out, comprehensive blog posts than snippets of thought here and there on a lifestream, especially from “thought-leader” bloggers like Rubel. I tend to agree, though I’m willing to give this idea of lifestreaming a fair shot and try to understand how and when it can be useful.
So for those of you who have figured it out, help me to get it. What are the benefits of lifestreaming? How are people using Tumblr and Posterous in ways that are different or better or more innovative than simply having a blog and sharing items via Twitter or Facebook?
What am I missing?
Image via Flickr user leadenhall