Within the past 2-3 years, we have seen an explosion of sites and services spring up across the web. Don’t blame me but this time period of the web will most likely forever be known as Web 2.0. This new creativity spurt is responsible for Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, Flickr, etc. Most bloggers these days, especially freelancers have accounts on one or more of these sites. If you operate your own blog, you could easily publish links to each one of your accounts so your audience can follow you around but this is a mundane process. In my opinion, portals are coming back. Not the portals we are used to seeing on pre 2000 built websites but, personalized portals. These portals highlight the activity and the whereabouts of an individual. Having a portal such as this also helps build and develop your personal brand. That is why within this article, I’ll show you 5 ways in which to manage your lifestream while making it easier for your audience to follow your work across the web.
SweetCron – SweetCron is an open source piece of software that you can install on a domain in order to manager your lifestream. SweetCron comes bundled with two themes. Sandbox and Boxy. While installation is somewhat clunky, the results look pretty nice. Adding content feeds is simple while the parsed items look snazzy in either theme. I think a .ME domain and an installation of SweetCron make for a good mix. Keep in mind though that the software is currently in public beta.
LifeStream Theme – While not free ($49.99 for a single license) John Kolberts MyHome Pro WordPress theme would make for a stylish way to present your web presence. The theme has been designed to fully support WordPress 2.7, including threaded comments. MyHome Pro supports widgets and comes with a customized administration panel that lets you easily configure various account settings such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.
OneNews PopURL Clone – If paying $49.99 seems like too much money, you can opt to use the One News WordPress theme which looks similar to PopUrls. One News is a simple way to display aggregated content thanks in large part to the SimplePie RSS plugin that is built in. Word of warning though, this theme is old as it was created in June of 2007 so it may not work correctly with WordPress 2.7. Also, you will need to touch the code within the theme in order to configure it properly.
Combine Your Feeds Into One – Probably the cheapest and easiest way to get all of your ducks in a row is to combine all of the feeds from the various services you have accounts with and put them in one feed. I recommend using RSS Mix. With RSS Mix, simply paste in all of the RSS feeds you want to combine in the text area and click on the Create! button. Once the new Feed URL is established, you can copy your XML Feed URL and create a FeedBurner account to manage it. This makes it easy to add your LifeStream Feed to your blog in which your audience can then subscribe to.
LifeStream Plugin – If you use WordPress, you have the ability to use the LifeStream WordPress plugin. This plugin displays your social activites across the web similar to how you would see them being displayed on many social networking sites. The nice thing about this plugin is that, it keeps the lifestream activity confined to your blog and looks great in a wide sidebar. On top of that, LifeStream keeps an archive that is easy to browse.
During these past two years of blogging and participating in online communities, I’m only now starting to realize that I’ve built a small but loyal following. These people range from readers of my personal blog, readers of the blogs I write for, friends on Twitter, folks who watch my videos on YouTube, those who check out my photos on Flickr, etc. When this Web 2.0 craze was going crazy, everyone wondered what the next best thing would be that everyone would latch onto and become a member of. Providing an RSS feed of your online presence or at the very least, having a publicly accessible site that is used as your LifeStream takes that worry out of the equation and makes it much easier for your fanbase to follow your work.