/ aggregation

Socialthing: in which my quest for the perfect lifestreaming service continues

Update: Now that socialthing! is in official beta, they’ve issued users with a bunch of invites. If you’re interested, leave a comment.

Lifestreaming, a new buzzword I’m most comfortable with, has had its iron grip on me for a few weeks now. I’m constantly checking out new services, with one goal in mind: to consolidate all the services I’m using on the mighty Intarwebs (for everyone fed up with constant ironic misspellings of what any other person would call the data-highway, I’m sorry, I just can’t resist).

There are various approaches to the problem, and every approach has been tackled by a few services. And now that even Yahoo! has been chiming in with their own version, namely the profile page of their acquired service MyBlogLog, the once rocky introduction of activity feeds has arrived in the safe harbour of mainstream acceptance. And when that’s the case, it doesn’t suffice for a service anymore to just have an idea, it has to execute it well to a certain extent.

One such service is Friendfeed, which lets you aggregate your activity on a certain number of services and then add friends (who ideally are also using the service – you can add “imaginary friends”, but that’s only half the fun – similar to real life). It’s a good service, but limited in that it only connects the dots via RSS feeds, and instead of aggregating your existing contacts from all the various services you have plugged in, you have to build yet another circle of contacts within FriendFeed.

Another approach, the API connecting one, is used by SecondBrain, which I’ve already written about. They plug into the services you’re using and create a library of the content you’ve been generating over the years. What they neglect, just as FriendFeed does, are the contacts you’ve got within those services. Meaning you’ll have to build up your contacts all over again.

Enter socialthing! , which, like SecondBrain, connects to your services via API and, tada, creates a contacts activity-stream. Yes, finally it’s a service that doesn’t focus on what you are doing, but rather on what your countless contacts scattered all over the web are up to.

Ironically, the execution is rather anti-social, as the stream is not public and doesn’t offer a feed either. Which is fine by me, considering that it’s my contacts, and I am the only one who’s interested in the activities of that motley crew.

Right now they are in closed beta, accordingly the service is still quite basic. Which is not a problem, as the service they are offering doesn’t need a whole lot more than what they’re already doing. There’s only one thing on my wishlist: a widget (or an API so people can create them).