Action Streaming: Blogging evolvedPosted: January 29, 2008
When I started blogging 5 years ago I had a vision that [majordojo](http://www.majordojo.com/) would be the place where I would collect and share those things that I find online that interest and inspire me. It would be a soap box at times, but mostly a scrap book and way for me to stay connected to the people I care about. As innovators recognized, as I had, this power and freedom in publishing they began to develop new tools and services to help build communities around and to connect people around the world to all sorts of content: photos, music, bookmarks, news stories, books, etc.
And build tools they did. The Internet exploded with amazing new ways for people to share information with each other. Their tools integrated seamlessly with existing desktop applications like Flickr’s photo uploader, with your music player like Last.fm’s iTunes plugin, with your browser like del.icio.us’ bookmark extension for Firefox and even with your cell phone like Twitter’s text messaging service. These new tools made the process of sharing such a seamless extension of my everyday experience online that naturally I began to use them.
And now, I often post photos of Harper on [Vox](http://byrne.vox.com) for my family and friends, I collect bookmarks on [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us/byrnereese) and [mag.nolia](http://ma.gnolia.com/people/byrnereese), I send text messages to [Twitter](http://twitter.com/byrnereese), I watch my friends post photos on [Flickr](http://flickr.com/people/byrnereese/) and flag the best photos as a “favorite,” I use Digg, Last.fm, Pandora and the list goes on and on. And the more services like these that I use, the farther away I get from the original vision of what my blog, majordojo, would be: a place to collect and share all of this information.
Who cares right? Well, the net result has ultimately led to many of the people I care about to become frustrated by the fact that there are too many places to check on the Internet to follow what I am doing. And that matters to me.
And I believe it matters to others as well, which is why I believe a number of the services I use such as Flickr, Mag.nolia and del.icio.us to ultimately develop features that are capable of automatically publishing an entry to my blog summarizing my activity within their service for the day. This, at the very least, helps to keep a blogger’s activity cataloged and aggregated in one place.
But this process is still broken. First of all the level of knowledge required to take advantage of these features makes them virtually inaccessible to all except an elite geeky few. Just look at del.icio.us’ daily blog posting settings area. Can anyone honestly tell me this makes sense?
But poor usability and UI design on the part of the service provider is not the only reason why this process is broken.
Aggregating all of these activities I participate in across the Internet should be as seamless and as easy as it was for me to create them in the first place. And until now, nothing has been made available that collects and publishes this data for your personal blog.
Today, we released for [Movable Type Open Source](http://getmovabletype.org/) a plugin called [Action Streams](http://plugins.movabletype.org/action-streams/index.html) that allows users to input the various services they use, and from that information automatically aggregate and make available for publishing a list of all the events on those services, provided of course that the service actually exposes this information in some way shape or form.
But this plugin is not just about activity aggregation, it about **control**. Because if there is one thing to learn from the one service that even remotely capable of performing this service for you, is that [control and privacy is not just important, it is paramount](http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=privacy&articleId=309003&taxonomyId=84). That is why this plugin:
* is 100% free and open source
* is available for a 100% free and open source blogging platform
* allows users to select which events are public and which are private
* allows users to select which services to aggregate and show activity from
* utilizes open standards to collect and publish data
* and allows users to distribute and do with this data what they please
You can see this plugin in action in a number of different places:
* on the [front door of my blog](http://www.majordojo.com/), and on an [archive](http://www.majordojo.com/elsewhere/) I created
* on [Sippey’s](http://www.sippey.com/), [Mark’s](http://markpasc.org/mark) and [David’s](http://www.davidrecordon.com) blogs
* on Movable Type dot org’s web site to [collect and aggregate activity for the entire MT dev team](http://www.movabletype.org/team-activity/index.html)
* and more places to come I am sure.
But no matter how “cool” I think this is, the single most important thing to me is that Action Streams has helped majordojo return to its original purpose: to act as a central aggregation for all of my activity online, and to do so in a way that ***just works*** that doesn’t require me to do any extra work. Just use the tools I like to use, and let it do the rest.
## To Learn More
* Visit the [Action Stream homepage](http://plugins.movabletype.org/action-streams/)