One of the issues that's troubled me over the past two years is the EXTREME decentralization that has been brought about by the rise of great social media websites. It's as if there is no common thread tying all of these social thoughts, musings, and ideas together.
The problem is exacerbated somewhat by the realization that I have no control over the content that I have created. What I have posted to Twitter now lives on Twitter's servers. If Twitter folds (as Pownce did in December), then those digital bits of my life may be lost forever. And that would really suck.
In an attempt to create a tie that binds my social identities together and to "own" my content, I begun embracing lifestream services – creating a single "river" of my own content. While the lifestream unified all of my content, it didn't address the other core problem. Lifestream services – be it FriendFeed, Soup or other sites – did not allow me to host my own content and "own" it.
However, in the last month, I think I have finally created a social media safety net – uniting and hosting all of my content.
Enter Sweetcron, the open-source, self-hosted, automated lifestream application.
While it can be a little intimidating to setup and a little rough around the edges in pre-1.0 development, Sweetcron is the silver bullet for a decentralized web.
Not only does it allow you to combine all of your online identities into one stream, but Sweetcron stores all of your tweets/links/posts/etc into a self-hosted mysql database, allowing you to archive and own your diverse identities.
My hope is that Sweetcron will continue to evolve into an much-more user-friendly app a la WordPress. Right now, it's a little too daunting for the average blogger. (Of course, the average blogger may not care about self-hosted lifestreams, but I digress….) This leads me to believe that the next big homerun in the self-hosted apps will be a full-featured, mainstream lifestreaming app a la sweetcron.
Right now, I'm not promoting my Sweetcron lifestream, mainly because I haven't had time to tweak the templates to my satisfaction. But my safety net is there – quietly running in the background… stalking me online… archiving the "digital me".
I have found my social media safety net and its name is Sweetcron.
Note – if you're wondering about all this social media "stuff", find enlightenment at Orangejack.