Slowly but surely, my online life has spiraled out of control.
Between posting photos on Flickr, updating my status on Facebook, blogging and commenting on and perusing various other sites, I'm having trouble keeping all my activities straight. And keeping track of what my friends are up to on the Web gets even harder.
But there is a way to keep it all together: lifestreaming sites.
These online destinations, many quite new, are like overlooks that offer a panoramic view of what you and your friends are doing on social media sites across the Internet.
If you've used Facebook, you're familiar with “feeds” detailing your friends' activities: which programs they've added to their Facebook profiles, for example, and which new people they've connected with.
Lifestreaming sites are a supercharged version of that. They aggregate information not only about what you and your friends are up to on Facebook, but all over the Web.
FriendFeed can gather updates from dozens of social Web sites, making it simple to arrange Twitter posts, Gmail Chat status updates and other online tidbits in one profile.
Feeds on the site were not that visually appealing – basically long lists with small icons. But the feeds still made it much easier to see Twitter updates, blog posts, Flickr uploads and more, without bouncing around the Web.
Profilactic can tap into almost 200 social media sites. Aggregating all these activities through Profilactic can definitely cut down on social media site surfing time.
Swurl can't gather information from as many sites as FriendFeed or Profilactic, but its looks set it apart. Its very clever “Timeline” feature shows all online activities on one page, organized into a calendar-like grid.
Swurl supports a number of different Web sources, including Facebook and Twitter and a variety of blogging platforms like TypePad, Tumblr and WordPress.
If you're having trouble keeping yourself organized on the Web, a lifestreaming site may help.
But I don't think they'll replace visiting sites one at a time. Posting and perusing the old fashioned way is much more varied and visually stimulating.