After maintaining a general lifestream website, I wanted to devise an experiment that might demonstrate the value of lifestreaming more explicitly. I chose a goal I wanted to achieve (to understand and simplify my personal finances) and created a lifestream site and workflow to visualize, measure and manage all progress made towards the goal. I used this concept of ‘goal-oriented lifestreaming’ (or ‘goalstreaming’) to direct the nature of my updates.
I used a specific workflow to update the website (goalstream) for this experiment, which became my overarching lifestream design methodology. I found that designing specific aspects of one’s life (in this case financial) through lifestreaming can be achieved with the following steps:
- Document daily activities that are working towards specific goals or projects (e.g., weight loss, saving money, improving athletic endurance).
- Measure progress towards goals using online tools to make tracking easier (e.g., calorie counting websites, financial tools such as Wesabe, iPhone applications that track fitness activities using GPS).
- Publicly share documentation to get community feedback, remain accountable for choices, and help others in similar positions.
- Grow reputation and confidence by keeping a public record of progress on a lifestream website.
- Identify patterns and systems that are interfering with growth (e.g., the corn industry contributing to weight gain by selling the corn syrup in soft drinks; 14 credit cards creating debt; work restrictions preventing exercise). Attempt to monetize what is learned with premium lifestream content subscriptions.
Although there are privacy issues that arise with sharing any information online, the primary value of goalstreaming is that it is public. By sharing our lives with others, we are motivated, we are held accountable for what we say, we receive tangible help, and we create a sense of ‘being in it together.’ And as one makes progress towards her goal, she becomes an expert on the subject for others to learn from with a portfolio of work to prove it. To read the complete report on this lifestream experiment, download "The Eternal Return: the Financial Goalstream Case Study Report".