Storytlr is a relatively new ‘lifestreaming’ service that allows you to aggregate your activity on a growing number of social networking sites (and other sites that provide RSS feeds) into one single stream that can then be manipulated to create visual narratives within a given time period. There are other lifestreaming and aggregation services. FriendFeed is one. I use the WordPress Lifestream plugin on another blog, too.
There are several things I especially like about Storytlr that are worth highlighting here:
- Manipulate the stream: You can edit the title, text content, date and time of each item in the stream, make items private or the entire stream private.
- Visual Narratives: Create ‘stories’ from isolated feeds within a certain time frame. For example, I might go to a conference and use this blog to report back to my colleagues. However, using Storytlr, I might include Twitter, Flickr and YouTube posts to create a narrative over two or three days. However, I’m probably also using Twitter to keep in touch with other conference participants; things like what time to meet up for a beer or to ask where a presentation is when I have forgotten the room number. Stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily want to include in my report of the conference. Storytlr will allow me to create this conference report selecting specific items from the Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and blog feeds. You can see how this could also be used by students (or staff) who want to tell the story of a project they are working on, or a field trip they’re away on. Several people could share and post to the same account.
- Some feeds are pulled in realtime: Storytlr uses GNIP to import updates from Twitter, Digg, Delicious and Seesmic in realtime. Increasingly, there’s an expectation that our online activity will show in realtime. RSS/Pull is being replaced by XMPP/Push architectures such as GNIP. No more waiting for RSS feeds to refresh! Watch for news sites like the BBC to start offering realtime news updates using GNIP or similar.
- Backup to plain text: You can backup/download each of your feeds in their entirety at any time as CSV files.
- Custom CSS and domain names: It’s your story so why not host it under your domain name in a theme that you have designed?
- You can share stories on external sites: Once you’ve created a story or aggregated your lifestream, you can then embed it on other sites using Storytlr widgets.
- Edit, archive, search and republish your lifestream: I use Delicious and Google Reader’s Shared Items to bookmark web pages that I want to share or, more often, bookmark to read at a later date. Storytlr provides a way to aggregate these items, archive them by month and search through them. Nice.
- Support for Laconica microblogging sites: They support my personal installation of Laconica. It’s the first time I’ve seen this. Support for Identica is growing but it’s nice to see support for other Laconica installations. It’s a distributed microblogging application after all!
- Forthcoming: It’s early days. They have plans for lots of other features, which users can vote for. Their blog is worth reading, too.
A few issues
- Login is not secure: There’s no https or lock icon in my browser when I log in and there’s only two of us voting for this feature to be implemented!
- Home-made: It’s self-financed and being developed by two blokes in their spare time from the living room.
- Speed: It’s a bit slow. A search through your feeds can take a while. However, the good news is that they’re moving to new servers at this end of January, which should resolve this.