Consumption as Self-Expression

Image courtesy of Dreamstime

My buddy Jonathan (happy now, strauss?) had a great comment in response to my post on lifestreaming.

“machine-generated updates” = consumption as self-expression

I found this statement to be profound as it underscored a point in a previous post on Twitter. Twitter is primarily an active form of self-expression. Like blogging, Twitter requires work. You think. You write. You post. Although you can also actively share short-form content on FriendFeed, many of the feed items are machine-generated and triggered as a direct result of regular content consumption and online activity.

When I finish posting this blog entry it will get picked up by TwitterFeed. Twitterfeed is a program that routes your blog posts to Twitter. FriendFeed, in turn, will post my Twitter results into FriendFeed. Finally, my FriendFeed App on my Facebook profile will post this into my News Feed.

Whew.

Why does this matter? I am OK with the consumers of these different services knowing what I am doing because, at the end of the day, I am simply expressing myself. And I am doing so at little cost. I don’t have to put together a post, or sign-in to all these services. I simply go about my digital life and my network auto-magically sees what I am doing. The collective results of my actions – the music I like, the things I read, the things I say – all let people know who I am. Consumption as self-expression.

This is a fairly powerful concept when you consider that most people do not actually produce ‘original content.’ Although tools are making it easier for more consumers to become producers (or prosumers), the fact remains is that most people do not have the time, talent, or care to author images, video, music, etc. There is a much larger audience that is willing to consume the results of others, however. By making it easier for people to express themselves by simply ‘being,’ barriers to communication are reduced and a slew of new possibilities are unleashed.

Thanks again to Jonathan for the thought-provoking statement. It is often the simple things that make you think the most.

hoomanradfar Written by:

  • I'll see your post and raise you a post (with a really long name, and even longer URL): http://jonathanhstrauss.com/blog/2008/08/consumpt

  • HA. The war begins. Just read your post. Good thinking. 🙂

  • Albert Drouart

    Awesome post Hooman – When I joined Mint.com the other day I was thinking about this exact same thing — my consolidated consumption data, which mint.com has now, could be part of my lifestream when I opt-in for it to be. As Jonathan mentions in his post, I want to allow my close friends to pull my data — my consumption "trails" could be, should be, a datasource – why couldn't my closest friends be able to query my purchases? Why couldn't I rate my purchase and start building up a database of my views on what I buy… and why wouldn't I want to share that in some way to my friends who might be shopping for similar things? Security/Privacy concerns/control aside, it's thought provoking.

  • Now that the proper link-love has been added, I guess we won't have to pull your blogger card after all. 😛

  • Thanks for the love.