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Everything You Need To Know About 'WorkStreaming'
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By Rich Karpinski

Combine blogging tools like WordPress or Blogger with new "micro-blogging" tools such as Twitter, Jaiku or Tumblr and you get something entirely new:

Lifestreaming, or in the business world, Workstreaming.

What is life/work-streaming, and why should you care?

Lifestreaming is an online record -- or in Web parlance, feed -- of a person's activities online drawing from their posted content on blogs, social networks, photo and video sites and more.

In short, you do a lot of stuff all over the Web; lifestreaming lets you aggregate all these activities and show them to your friends.

For workstreaming, the focus, not surprisingly, is on the things you do in your work life -- all streamed in a single feed that can be consumed by your co-workers, customers and partners.

Web Worker Daily defines workstreaming as "the publishing of work-related activities and events to your remote colleagues, usually via RSS but sometimes in other formats and ways.”

The AnyWired blog wrote recently about workstreaming as well, defining it like this:

A workstream is a live updated record of work you’ve completed. When doing group work with remote colleagues, it allows you to keep track of what everyone else is doing. When working solo, it helps you keep track of your own productivity.

Check out our separate look at the tools to use to workstream (coming soon).

But first let's answer this question: why workstream at all?

1. Aggregate your online life.

As we noted earlier, people today leave "digital droppings" all over the Web: blog posts, comments on blog posts, Twitter updates, social network feeds, photo uploads, etc.

Life/work-streaming provides an automated way to pull all these strands together in a single feed that can be easily followed and consumed.

Consider venture capitalist Fred Wilson. He runs several blogs, posts to Twitter and Flickr, etc. etc. Fred runs his life/workblog at Fred Wilson Dot VC. Most interestingly, Fred combines news of his latest investments, thoughts on Web trends with more personal items like his music finds, family photos and more. It makes Fred a) more transparent and b) more human. It also lets him spread his ideas more easily and, ostensibly, attract new clients or investors. What's not to like?

2. Move up the Google ladder

We've talked several times about "Personal SEO," the small biz necessity to get your company name, *your* name and your ideas well-represented in Google. Aggregating your Web work (and fun) in a single spot can help Google spiders suck it all up and build "authority" around your name.

Use a workstream as a simple intranet

Intranets help businesses communicate internally. Small businesses don't need large intranets or portals, but they *do* need to communicate effectively and efficiently among small groups of workers.

One of the best way to do this is to send short updates ("just finished project A; am stuck on project B, need some help") to your peers. You can certainly do this via email or IM. Using a tool like Twitter, though, makes it extremely quick and easy to send updates to a group of coworkers, while a feed tool like Tumblr or FriendFeed lets you pull Twitter posts and other content into a single feed (Web site feed and RSS feed) that others can watch.

What do you think? Do you use a life/workstream? Do you think one would be useful for your small business? Let us know.

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