Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr -- these are only a few of the social networking sites available to Internet users.
These types of social hubs have become essential in keeping everyone up to speed -- including ourselves -- with what's going on in our personal and professional lives.
One could easily become overwhelmed in attempting to keep it all straight, but there is a way now to keep all of this information together in one place: lifestreaming sites.
These lifestreaming sites, many of which are quite new, are like overlooks that offer a panoramic view of what you and your friends are doing on social media sites across the Internet.
For example, Facebook offers a running list of "feeds" detailing your friends' activities: which programs they've added to their Facebook profiles, and which new people they've connected with.
Lifestreaming sites are like that, but take it up a notch. They aggregate information not only about what you and your friends are up to on Facebook, but all over the Web as well.
"We are all spreading our identity across several sites and having a place to assemble the meta identity seems as though it is still an emerging and powerful need," said blogger Cole Camplese.
"When you think about teaching, the notion of powerful and well-organized aggregation gets even more critical," he added. Camplese is the director of Education Technology Services for Penn State University. His blog, Learning & Innovation, focuses on technology utilization that impacts teaching and learning.
And Internet users are beginning to see how lifestreaming may affect the way they use the Internet.
There are many applications out there for people to use, most of them generally falling into two categories: those that help the user keep track of their own life stream, and those that help the user keep track of friends' life streams or both. For a list, click here.
And while this may be a great area for development and expansion, it has its drawbacks too. Many of the sites do not have options for privacy, which means a simple search could yield one's complete lifestream online.
However, since this is a new technology, changes are likely to emerge making it a more secure place for users to keep information.
Sources: The Associated Press, ReadWriteWeb, Learning & Innovation