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Lifestreaming vs. Blogging

Just so you know what I hypocrite I am before I begin this thought, I set up a lifestream site called Stirrup Queens on the Road (you can get to it from the new pomegranate icon below the header) and posted pictures and video from last night’s party on it.  I’m not sure where it’s going or how often I’ll post there, but it seems like a nice receptacle for certain thoughts, pictures, and videos.  If you want to follow along, you can add the feed directly into Google Reader.

I was recently introduced to this idea of flow (or lifestream) vs. blogging, namely, new software as well as established sites such as Twitter or Facebook that make thoughts immediate (as opposed to blogging, which can be immediate, but more often, re-read, edited, polished, and made pretty).

Beyond Blogs writes: “Basically, conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation — the comments thread on blog posts — to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social.”

The ever-brilliant Denise at BlogHer explained it best when I pointed out that I can’t tell the difference between a regular blog and a site on Posterous.  The difference might not be clear-cut to the reader, but it’s definitely different for the writer because of the way the information is being processed behind the scenes.  Meaning, posts in a lifestream space are instantaneous.  What you’re reading is pretty much happening right now, much like Twitter.  People are snapping a picture with their cell phone and it is going directly up on the Web.  Or they’re typing a few thoughts while waiting for the bus and it’s going up on their site before they’ve boarded the vehicle.  There are no drafts, no saved posts, no worrying if you got it just right because it’s all about the ephemeral.  The moment.

I have to admit that as much as I like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve never felt as comfortable with those mediums as I have with blogging.  Maybe because I’m all about circumspection.  I like to write not knowing how the post will end and see what comes out of me.  I like to sit on some posts for a few days and see if they’re still relevant or resonate with me after time has passed.  I wrote an angry post a few days ago that seemed important enough to use up an hour composing and now, when I look at it, it doesn’t seem worth sending out into the blogosphere.  If this site had been used as a lifestream space, you would have gotten my bile.  Uncensored.

That could be really dangerous if used without thinking.

And it’s not just that I don’t like to write in that manner–I don’t like to necessarily read in that manner either.  I have limited computer time and mediums such as Twitter simply move too quickly for me to keep up plus the writing tends to have no thought behind it.  I tend to pop in and out of Twitter and therefore miss the majority of tweets.  But blogs move at the right speed–the posts collect in my Reader and I can hit all of them when I find the time.  I’m afraid that reading lifestream spaces would eat up more of my unstructured time.  I want to know that if I’m turning my attention over to read something, that some thought has been put into the words.  If I have ten minutes, I’d rather read a thought-provoking post than read 140 characters.  It’s pretty rare that I have a tweet remain with me or affect me emotionally.  Time is precious–I’m going to give it to words that mean something to me.

I guess what it comes down to is that it’s the difference between a live-broadcast and an edited television show.  I’m not sure one is more honest or true than the other, but there is a thrill with the live-broadcast when you consider that anything could happen.  There are times when I hit post immediately upon completing a post (for instance, Bay).  But more often, a post has sat for a few hours, a few days in the draft folder.

Are you more comfortable with Lifestreaming (instantaneous blog posting, Twitter, etc) or blogging (sometimes instantaneous posting, but more often, edited and carefully constructed pieces).  There is obvious room for both mediums, but do you agree with the quote above that people are going to gravitate towards the speed of lifestreaming over the slow nature (in comparison) of blogging?

And my experience thus far with the lifestream site–just because you can put it up there instantaneously, doesn’t mean that it is read instantaneously.  The comments still come in at the same pace as a normal blog.  Perhaps as more people join the site and begin using it, it will move faster.  And then I might have to step off the ride.


1 Wishing4One { 11.21.09 at 12:45 pm }

This is something new to me. Should I be embarrased? I like to think I am pretty up to date with techonology, but then again it grows so fast…. Anyway I am going to check it out. I do agree with the quote though, I think once this catches on, (maybe it has already and I’m late) people will gravitate towards it. Its something about LIVE and uncut vs. edited and pondered. I’m sticking to blog format for now, but you never know. Thanks for mentioning and bringing me up to date. Oh Happy ICLW.

2 Wishing4One { 11.21.09 at 12:50 pm }

Ok….I love it! I love that there is no setup, you email, your site is created brilliant! I may just try it out. But once I get my new phone from US and then come back and use it. Wait maybe I will setup while I am in US and create my account that way? LOL i do like it though. Loved your pics….you are such a cutie, I know I’ve said it before, but you know you are.

3 Jendeis { 11.21.09 at 12:58 pm }

I also have never heard of Lifestream. I do agree that things seem to be moving towards the instantaneous response, the closest to face-to-face conversation. The problem with all of this is just that. It’s not face-to-face, so you get instant reactions without the accompanying context of facial expressions and body context. I guess that’s why I prefer blogs and scripted TV. This also explains my master’s thesis, also about context, and the enormous fight at my thesis defense with the professor who didn’t believe in zeitgeist. A**hat extraordinaire, I tell ya.

4 Delenn { 11.21.09 at 1:13 pm }

I prefer blogs. Sometimes the instantaneous stuff you see on FB or Twitter is just more background noise than relevance. I like reading peoples thoughts…I don’t wanna know what they are eating for lunch (well, that is not totally true, because I do tweet and read tweets–but I mean I ENJOY reading blogs more). For me, at least, Twitter and FB are good for me when I am bored or frustrated and need to blow off steam for a few minutes. But when I really want to say something–I blog it.

5 Junebug { 11.21.09 at 1:43 pm }

I prefer blogging but I enjoy reading lifestreaming. I’m afraid we may be going more towards lifestreaming but it does concern me because it could take complicated issues and condense them to sound bites. This could cause people to do less thinking into reasoning and motivation.

6 nh { 11.21.09 at 2:52 pm }

I’ve got a twitter account that I just don’t use. I have a facebook account, that I do use. However, I like blogs and blogging, because I can rationalise what I’m trying to say, rather than giving a statement. I haven’t looked at lifestreaming – but I think perhaps I’ll stick with blogging more, because I can think about what I’m going post, and not necessarily have an instant response. But maybe when I’ve investigated further, I might change my mind.

7 Lavender Luz { 11.21.09 at 5:14 pm }

I prefer blogs to Twitter/Facebook/Livestreaming. I like having Twitter and FB– it’s like a full meal. Blogging is the main dish, but Twitter and FB are the side dishes.

I think I see blogging as the main course not because it’s inherently better than the others, but because it’s my first language. Twitter came next, and I am more fluent there than in FaceBook.

Not sure about Livestreaming. I’ve not yet chatted with a native speaker, and it seems very foreign. It will not overtake blogging for me in the foreseeable future.

I am getting overloaded. Sometimes I just want things to stay the way they are in Social Media. Do I really need aNOTHER way to keep in touch with people?

8 Alissa Collins { 11.21.09 at 6:31 pm }

I like blogging. Facebook is too crazy for me. I am not a twitter-er, I like to check my facebook and I update my status, but a blog is under my control 100% which makes me happy.

9 Mrs. Gamgee { 11.21.09 at 8:57 pm }

For me it’s blogging all the way. I have a facebook account that I stopped actually using more than a year ago because to me it felt entirely too highschool… just a big popularity contest, all about how many friends you have.

Tweeting hasn’t really grabbed me yet, and I don’t know if it will. I like having the room to elaborate and process what I want to say.

10 Bea { 11.21.09 at 10:22 pm }

I’m with you. I mean, it’s kind of cool knowing that the long-lost cousin I haven’t seen in years is doing her laundry RIGHT NOW (I’m only being half sarcastic…) but who has the time? I definitely pay more attention to proper blog posts.

I also struggle with the fact that I can send someone a direct message with a question in it about important events but they will prioritise telling everyone in the entire world about their baby’s drool or the disappointing coffee they bought this morning or making a comment on someone’s drunken party pictures over answering me. I prefer not to know that I’m exactly that low on their list. I don’t get that with blog posts, because even if it’s a relatively mundane topic, I can still acknowledge it as an act of thinking and writing and recording. Maybe that’s just a personal bias, though.


11 Miriam { 11.22.09 at 12:21 am }

I think it depends on what I’m trying to convey. If I’m talking about something well thought out or that I want to preserve then I blog. Random things to share (just had a great dinner!) or advice (where to store dress-up clothes?) I’ll put on Facebook and Twitter.

12 Half of a Duo, Raising a Duo { 11.22.09 at 7:56 am }

I’d have to see it and try it to give you my opinion. All I know is, that I have written blog posts and then deleted them. I have written comments to my comments and then thought for a second and even a day and deleted the comment.

I’d hate to put out instantaneous thought.

The only time I’d like that to work for me is when my mind is assembling what I am pulling for my posts. Like song snippets and inspirational phrases. I am sick of scribbling little pieces of my thought processes that fly through my head… on pieces of paper next to the PC.

I really dislike “telling it like it is” when I am feeling it in the moment. I suspect that much of my lifestream would not be comfortable for me to read… disjointed thought more than actual things that mark my days and create something I can look back on and go… hmmm. Wow!

13 Robin { 11.22.09 at 11:15 am }

I really, really prefer blogging. I agree with you in that I want to know where I’m going when I’m sharing. I want to plan it out, re-read and then save it for a while to be sure it’s what I want to say.

Twitter, and some of the other lifestreaming stuff (never heard it called that before, but interesting) seems too spontaneous. That might work if you’re really witty or just generally stuffed with cool stuff to say, I just don’t think that’s me!!

ICLW 😉 (Thanks Mel, for setting this up)

14 Natalie { 11.22.09 at 11:46 am }

Oh I definitely prefer blogging. I always have loved writing, being able to read and re-read my thoughts, to edit them and polish them. When I was a teen and everyone was in chat rooms I used to have major anxiety attacks when I tried to go into chat – the same problem I had with phone calls. I hate the immediacy, I would just freeze up, paranoid.

Now I’m learning to appreciate streaming a little bit more, I can hold a conversation on a phone, though I still hate chat rooms because of the time sink they are (you can’t get anything else done). But my Facebook and Twitter posts are still edited in my head before I post them, and I only give bits and pieces – usually the amusing ones. It’s not my preferred mode.

15 Helen { 11.22.09 at 3:12 pm }

I prefer blogging. I think that blogs can be a home for many different kinds of writing. You can post something in the moment if it feels right, but you can also edit.

I post major life changes on my Facebook account, and that is the kind of information I look for from my friends.

16 Sprogblogger { 11.22.09 at 5:44 pm }

I absolutely agree – blogs move at the right pace & when I’m out of touch for a few days, they’re still waiting, I can still comment, and I can catch up at 2am if that’s when I have the time. I still haven’t gotten into Twitter, mostly because, well, I’m busy when stuff seems to happen to other people. And if I’m at my computer, the last thing I need is MORE distraction. Just as I’m terrible about returning phone calls, but great at returning emails, blogs work for my lifestyle & everything else that requires more time to read/comment/respond at busy times of the day/night will always come in second…

17 loribeth { 11.22.09 at 5:48 pm }

Well, I don’t Twitter & I’m (still) not on Facebook (yet…), so I guess my preference for blogging is obvious. I am still on a few message boards for various topics (including IF) & I still enjoy those. I find message boards to be more conversational, give & take. Anything I post that’s not a response to someone else’s post is often about something that’s happened to me or that I’ve just observed that I want to share. Blogging can be that way (as you have shown us by your example, Mel), but I tend to think of my blog as somewhere that I can write a sort of mini-essay, gathering my thoughts on a certain subject (sometimes inspired by a timely event, sometimes not), & then throw them out there to see if anyone agrees. If I get comments, great. If not, I still enjoy the process of gathering my thoughts & getting them assembled on the page in some reasonably coherent way.

I have to agree with Lavender Luz, though — do I really need yet ANOTHER way to comunicate with people?? And also with your point about having limited computer time (which is one big reason why I’ve resisted the siren call of Facebook so far).

Interesting concept, though. I have added your lifestream blog to my reader.

18 Dominique { 11.22.09 at 7:03 pm }

I have never tried livestreaming either. It doesn’t seem to tickle my fancy. I am on Twitter though and can definiteley understand where you’re coming from – “I tend to pop in and out of Twitter and therefore miss the majority of tweets.” I try to update my twitter at least once a day, but sometimes that’s jst not possible. Ans so I’m behind. I do prefer the speed of blogging as well.

19 Mel { 11.22.09 at 10:57 pm }

It’s funny; I wonder if I had Twittered this if there would be more “no, Twitter is where it’s at” comments. Are we all biased because we’re bloggers, even if we dabble in the other mediums as opposed to someone who is primarily on Twitter or Posterous or a lifestream site and doesn’t blog in the traditional sense of having a space they maintain?

Does it break down between the nostalgic and the ephemeral?

20 Mel { 11.22.09 at 10:59 pm }

Plus, it’s interesting that a blog posts takes longer to read, but we all (mostly) seem to agree that blogs take less “time” than lifestream. That it’s a carefully constructed moment rather than a deluge of information.

21 Jenny { 11.23.09 at 10:52 am }

I don’t know, lately Lifestreaming is looking more practical for me. I barely have anything to blog about anymore.

22 Jamie { 11.23.09 at 11:47 am }

Once upon a time, I was so technologically advanced. But that was so, like, five minutes ago.

I am beginning to dabble in Facebook but don’t Twitter yet. We are living in a society of instant gratification and I admit I check my email almost compulsively. But I have to lean toward blogging. I feel it gives me more time to get my thoughts together. FB is fun for quick little updates but it is hardly a tell all for me.

You do have a good point – I think we are all a little biased here . . .

23 Lucy { 11.23.09 at 12:50 pm }

For me, you nailed it when you said that blogging better fits your reading pace–I agree. I hardly ever log in to Twitter, and Facebook, maybe once daily, but even then, you miss posts. I like the well-thought-out-ness of blogging, and reading the whole (or part of a whole, but a complete thought at least) story.

24 Happy and Blue 2 { 11.24.09 at 12:47 pm }

I used Facebook for about 6 months to post the silly things I was thinking at the time.
I often thought that a particular thought would have made a great story for my style of writing.
I don’t really like Twitter or Facebook or any of the lifestream sites all that much although I do check in on Twitter for links to interesting articles people have found.
Then I read the article, ha,ha..

25 luna { 11.27.09 at 2:16 am }

as you can see I’m a little slow in my reader, so blogging will remain my preferred medium because the posts are always there, I can come and go as I please and catch up easily when I’m able. I like the central location of a blog, as well as the depth, history and context.

I’ve never succumbed to f-book but I do use twitter and sometimes I just like spitting out a single thought at a time. sometimes that’s all I have time for, or I’m not ready or willing to share something in a full post. I also like following all kinds of other people and get a good amount of news and humor there too. BUT I agree if you miss a few days you feel lost, like you missed something that is no longer accessible or even worth retrieving. so it has far less value to me than a blog post, which I might ponder and think about for days before coming back to it. like this one.

I do like your lifestream site, which seems to combine the different formats. I wonder if it’s as interactive though?

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