My Lifestream

As a web developer interested in creating a web presence I'm constantly looking for new projects to add to and inhance my websites. Some of these (like this blog) require a fair degree of committment to create new content, while others (like my about page) is a simple static page. I've always kept my eye on my social networks as a potential source of content for a new site, and the recent launch of my lifestream (lifestream site) fits my needs very nicely.

There's numerous examples of web developers using this technique on their sites. An obvious one is a display of a personal twitter feed on a page, usually on the home page or blog, as both a constant source of content and a way to collect possible followers. I've seen some more advanced uses too, including github activity.

I decided to do something a bit more ambitious with my lifestream. The concept of a 'lifestream' is a compilation of time-ordered online activity (wikipedia article). In fact, there's even a draft specification for the format of these activity streams (activity stream site). What I wanted to do is begin compiling different online activity through separate social sites into one centralized location - my lifestream.

Starting with twitter, I soon expanded out to my hulu and streams (I'm still working on how to integrate the latter without overfilling the stream). By creating a separate twitter account and looking for specific hashtags in the xml, I added a 'coding' and 'hiking' feed. I tied my Google Buzz and Google Reader accounts together, which allow me to 'share' items from Google Reader and show up in my lifestream. All of these combined creating the beginning of a complete lifestream.

Each of these services require some sort of basic cron that pulls the respective API rss feed and parses it out into a clean, usable format. I've been working on adding new pieces, like a blog feed, book feed, and that feed, but each of these require different techniques and thought processes, so I'm taking my time with them.

Now that I have a few different feeds populating my lifestream, the next step will involve enhancing the current site. It'd be nice to expand on some of the individual posts, displaying images or a summary chunk of text with them. Also, I'd like to add an rss feed (preferrably following the activity stream protocol) to export the data in a clean way.