In April, I started following Taylor McKnight’s “Tumblelog” and since Taylor is my early-warning-radar for cool stuff, I signed up for a free-account (rex.tumblr.com) despite having no idea why. More recently, I noticed that Josh Bancroft was merging all his RSS feeds into a Tumblr.com account at JoshBancroft.com and was calling it a “lifestream.” (Tumblr.com allows users to “domain map.”) Then, Steve Rubel dove in last Friday and set up his lifestream of RSS feeds on a Tumblr.com account that is found at steverubel.com.
As it’s a ten-minute chore, max, I’ve now pointed RSS feeds of all my blogging, tweeting, bookmarking and photosharing to rex.tumblr.com. While Steve and Josh are calling such a confluence of all personal feeds a “lifestream” — I’m calling mine River of Rex, which closely beat-out the other name I was considering, Rex’s ego-hose. In many ways, the right-hand column of rexblog.com is already my “lifestream” as you can find there everything I’m also pointing towards on rex.tumblr.com. The tumblr platform has an additional benefit, as the “lifestream” of all your feeds will then generated an aggregated RSS feed. That’s something you could accomplish lots of other ways, and even I, the non-developer “user,” can easily pipe together several feeds. However, the tumblr.com way is drop-dead simple.
Again, what is it? It’s a website that has a feature that makes it easy to subscribe to and display — in what Dave Winer calls a “River of News” format — last-in, first-diplayed — the RSS feeds of everything I post on this blog, on Twitter, on Flickr and on other services I may use to bookmark or tag web content I want to share. If you use Facebook, it’s similar to the new third-party apps that let you display RSS feeds on your “Mini-Feed.”.
By the way, a “tumblelog” can be used for other purposes than “lifestreaming” and aggregating RSS feeds. Jason Kottke once described them as a “quick and dirty stream of consciousness.” They are somewhere between a blog and a Twitter account.