FriendFeed-Facebook deal reaffirms need for a social media safety net
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of digital lifestreams, a single page overview of your online & offline world. I have my own lifestream that features not only what I’m doing on my blog or other websites, but also ties in what I’m doing offline through pictures & videos. (Check out my lifestream, if you like!)
As focus on aggregated lifestreams (or socialstreams, as they are sometimes being called) has evolved, several really good sites have popped up which allow you to create your own lifestream, including soup.io, Profilactic, and – most notably – FriendFeed. Given the simplicity of these great tools, thousands have flocked to these services.
However, with the recent purchase of FriendFeed by Facebook (Friendbook? Facefeed?), it now appears that the future of FriendFeed may be in jeopardy. If FriendFeed folds – just as Swurl & Jaiku did earlier – it could erase (literally) millions of digital landmarks in thousands of user’s lifestreams. Since lifestreams are generated as they happen, there’s a real possibility that those users will never be able to recreate their lifestreams. Now, thousands of FriendFeed users are looking for ways to back up their lifestream before it disappears.
But the sad reality is, this didn’t need to happen.
As I have posted before, the best lifestream backup solution is the development of a social media safety net – the subject of my blog post in February 2009.
The answer is simple: You will never “own” your aggregated content until you being self-hosting your own lifestream.
I spent the better part of three months installing and using self-hosted lifestream scripts. Let me say simply, if you want to own your aggregated content and truly own your lifestream, there is only great answer today: Sweetcron.
The open-source Sweetcron project is currently the single best self-hosted lifestream application because it fully archives your aggregated content by writing the full content to your own MySQL database. Regardless of where you create your content, if you add the full feed to Sweetcron, it will archive it. In other words, even if Twitter closes its doors, the full content of your tweets is preserved.
Sweetcron embodies everything I was seeking in a social media safety net and lifestream backup. You can view my sweetcron lifestream to get a feel for the app. That said… there’s a steep learning curve on the front end. I’m hopeful that the community will continue to develop FAQs and great Sweetcron themes to make this a self-hosted app that every user can enjoy.