Four initial thoughts about lifestreaming

Wall-E
On a mission

(i) It is really hard (for me at least) to make the ‘lifestream’ parts of the blog (i.e. what is pulled in from IFTTT) look nice. I’ve experimented with a few different applications and judged them practically exclusively on their aesthetics. Tumblr looks nice when you have images with a bit of text. Evernote works well for text. So does Scannable when you’re using photos of things you’ve taken yourself. I wish I could find a Twitter recipe for auto-embedding tweets in WordPress, it’d look so much better.

(ii) I find myself needing to aggregate lots of different formats. Random things I find on the internet and want to store for later. Things that fly into and out of my head faster than I can find a pen that works, and which I sometimes manage to scribble down on whatever I can find: notebooks, post-its, the backs of envelopes. Useful videos I come across (normally accidentally) while watching interviews with the cast of the new Ghostbusters on YouTube. Lists of things I’ve read, want to read, intend to read but never will. Things other people send me, or share, and that I want to collect. It’s been fun to work out how best to aggregate all of these things.

(iii) There are a couple of things I use (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) which I want to keep strictly ‘personal’. It feels like I’m approaching this from an incoherent direction: I don’t want to have strict boundaries on the things I use ‘professionally’, but more that I don’t want academic, sensible things seeping into the streams of cat pictures on Instagram.

(iv) Automating things and thinking about workflow shows me how central Zotero is to everything that I do. I love Zotero; it is my favourite thing. But it’s been a nightmare to automate it – exporting the raw data is easy enough, but exporting it in a useful format hasn’t been straightforward at all.

Gears and cogs
Automate all the things!