Lifestreaming: Your total web experience all on one page

Note: Facebook officially killed Friendfeed¬†21:00 GMT on April 10, 2015. This post remains in memory of history’s useful social network.

Ever feel like e-mail is your enemy? Oh sure, that first few months after you first logged in was great. The world was at your fingertips. Then, at some indefinable moment in time, sweet freedom became enslavement. Now, all day, everyday–for the foreseeable future–new messages are appearing along with the possibility of one more thing to handle.

Voices of the Past has added a feature that makes communicating on the internet fun again. The tool is called Friendfeed, and it is just one of a growing number of “lifestreaming” tools that allow you to instantly pull all your web activities onto one page, and have conversations about them with your friends.

There are lots of things you can do with Friendfeed. I’ve seen it used for blogs, wikis, discussion forums, web bookmarks and even instant messaging. Its rising popularity lies in its simplicity. Using a bookmark in your browser toolbar, you can share and comment on web content without ever having to leave the web page you are looking at. Other folks can subscribe to the feed, then jump in, add their responses and share related links too. Since it’s so easy to post and comment, communities tend to build around them quickly. All the posts go to one scannable, searchable page.

You can have content from almost any social service automatically imported into your feed–from blogs to Amazon wish lists–whether it’s your’s or not. So it functions kind of like a public RSS reader as well. Web experts believe this style of open, dynamic communication is the next iteration of the internet. And some prominent bloggers have already abandoned their blogs in favor of lifestreaming sites.

Of course, you control¬† the privacy settings on your personal Friendfeed. But you can also create “rooms” on specific topics to which anyone can join and contribute content. Voices of the Past has a Friendfeed room. Anyone is welcome to join the room, and the conversation on our shared heritage. You can also see updates from the Friendfeed room anytime by visiting the Voices of the Past Heritage News page.

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