I'm engaging in an experiment.
For a while I've been playing with Foursquare, it's a location based social networking tool that I use to track where I've been, and keep track of where my friends are. I also tweet quite regularly, and occasionally post pictures to Flickr.
A few months ago I discovered Momento, it's a rather clever little app that pulls together feeds from various social sites and displays them in a nice calendar view, as shown in the pictures.
It got me thinking, how many apps would you need to update and agregate in order to create a complete record of everything you do? It would be quite straightforward just to blog, or tweet in a diary style, but the benefit of an app such as foursquare is that it's lightning fast, and it puts your life in a social context, when you check in you can see who's around, where's popular, and what people think of the place you're at.
So I started to catalog my life:
I used Foursquare to keep a record of where I'd been and with who.
Twitter became about what I did and said while I was there.
Flickr was my window onto the world, and recorded anything that looked interesting.
I'd record the occasional YouTube video.
Gomiso was an interesting discovery, it is a social networking site that I used to log the films and TV shows I watch.
LastFM to keep track of the music I listen to.
Foodspotting to track meals I really enjoy.
Hey zap to track games I play.
Everyday, to take a picture of myself, every day, to see how I'm changing.
And finally Momento to pull everything together via RSS or direct feed and create a complete journal.
It's far from there yet, a couple of the apps don't yet have RSS so I'm waiting to integrate them, but as soon as they get the functionality up, Momento pulls in all the historical data and hey presto.
Currently Momento doesn't allow someone else to see my life feed, but that's half the point, it's a diary for me not for anyone else and so far the results are quite interesting. For me the biggest surprise is that it doesn't take long. Writing a diary requires you to sit down and think, whereas this approach requires a few seconds each time you check in. I'm starting to do it unconsciously now.
I'm not sure I'll keep it up, but it's already been quite practically useful, the other day I was trying to remember with a friend what we'd done on my birthday last year so I could plan this year's, and by using my feeds I could tell every bar we'd visited, when we arrived and what we did...even though we'd both forgotten at the time.
I also got into a row with someone at work about the order in which we'd visited a certain set of companies, again, using Momento provided the evidence I needed to convince them and avoid making a simple but potentially awkward mistake on our next series of visits.
When I first started this experiment the only "check in" app I could find was Foursquare, but as I've progressed more and more of these apps have hit the market. It raises all sorts of interesting debates over privacy, and I have concerns around what happens if these services go bust, so am looking for an archiving solution, but that's another post!