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Blogging. Lifestreaming. What's next: Lifelogging!

Capturing and sharing all daily minutiae will soon get automated. Very soon.

October 16, 2009 04:22 PM ET

Computerworld - Smile when you talk to research legend Gordon Bell. You're on candid camera.

Bell wears two cameras around his neck all his waking hours. One of them he calls a SenseCam. It takes a digital photograph every 20 seconds or so -- all day, every day, year after year. (I'll tell you below how to buy your own SenseCam.) The other camera takes pictures and video only when Bell presses the right buttons.

It's all part of a project Bell calls MyLifeBits. He's documented the project, and made a case for why we'll all have MyLifeBits projects of our own, in a new book called Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything.

The book's official Web site explains the MyLifeBits project:

"MyLifeBits captures and holds a lifetime's worth of articles, books, letters, memos, photos, presentations, music, home movies, and videotaped lectures. Gordon's archive includes phone calls, IM scripts, years of email, web pages visited, and daily activities captured by the SenseCam. One of the challenges of MyLifeBits has been to build applications, e.g. timelines and viewers for people to take their personal memorabilia out of the shoebox and store them digitally for all kinds of future usage from a daily aid to memory through record keeping to immortality."

This automated capture of everything is called lifelogging. Bell, who works as a principal researcher for Microsoft, is way ahead of everyone. But we're all definitely headed in his direction. Soon enough, lifelogging will go mainstream.

Why you'll lifelog

Many big cultural transformations occur when technology unleashes human nature. The digital technology trends are plain to see. Storage and digital cameras are getting cheaper and smaller. Wireless connectivity is becoming more ubiquitous.

More interestingly, however, cultural trends are all pointing toward an acceptance of lifelogging. People feel compelled to record their lives, and have for millennia. As technology progresses, it gets easier and therefore more popular.

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Evernote. Self-portraits with camera phones. The use of such sites and media prove that people instinctively capture more whenever capturing becomes easier.

In fact, the hardest part is coping with the huge variety of ways we can share thoughts and experiences. The state of the art in sharing right now brings all those ways together into a phenomenon called lifestreaming.

Lifestreaming was originally conceptualized as the capturing of all digital "stuff" you create or interact with for your own purposes -- kind of like a very detailed diary. But like blogs, lifestreaming has been co-opted into the social networking impulse. Now, the idea of lifestreaming is to capture your blog and Twitter posts, YouTube uploads, records of what music you listen to, videos you watch, blogs you read and so on. The audience is now both you and your social group. The purpose is identical to the purpose of Twitter and Facebook -- human connection and personal memory.

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