I really don’t get what all the hoopla is about “lifestreams” or “social aggregators”. They are //all over// the place these days and frankly I’m getting quite sick of them. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, Dan Taylor has a [[http://www.fabricoffolly.com/2008/03/review-of-social-aggregators.html|great review]] of 15 lifestream services ([[http://mashable.com|Mashable]] has a [[http://mashable.com/2007/07/17/social-network-aggregators/|similar survey]] of 20 aggregators).
First of all, there is **nothing new** in the technology. It is almost trivial to write your own bare bones feed aggregator. Here is a ugly, skeletal social aggregator in **THREE** lines of Python (note that I’m not counting the list of the feeds itself) using the excellent [[http://feedparser.org|Feed Parser]] module:
feeds = [
for feed in feeds:
result = feedparser.parse(feed)
Granted its not pretty, but you can imagine its not terribly hard to make it pretty. Even otherwise, [[http://www.planetplanet.org/|Planet]] has been around for almost forever, even before RSS and feeds took off like they have recently. There are plugins that achieve the same for pretty much any platform you can think of: WordPress, Drupal, Dokuwiki, Mambo, Joomla — you name it, and they probably have RSS aggregation built in.
So if technology is not the bling, what is? Undoubtedly its the social aspect of it, I hear you say! Don’t we have enough social networks already? Are you so bored by the flood of updates in your FaceBook mini-feed, that you want to engage in //yet another// social network that has //all// of your feeds?
And finally, what exactly is the business model? Everyone likes to throw around words like “revenue”, “monetization”, “personalization”, “value aggregation”, “API” etc but we have yet to see a demonstrably sustainable model. Others have raised [[http://headphono.us/2008/02/28/48-friendfeed-launches-wheres-lifestreaming-headed/|similar concerns]].
I can’t help but sense a much-ado-about-nothing kind of feeling. I rest my case with [[http://www.friendfeedfeed.com/|FriendFeedFeed]].