Action Streaming: Blogging evolved

When I started blogging 5 years ago I had a vision that majordojo 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's iTunes plugin, with your browser like' 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.

the people I care about [became] frustrated by the fact that there are too many places to check on the Internet to follow what I am doing.

And now, I often post photos of Harper on Vox for my family and friends, I collect bookmarks on and mag.nolia, I send text messages to Twitter, I watch my friends post photos on Flickr and flag the best photos as a "favorite," I use Digg,, 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 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' 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.

But this plugin is not just about activity aggregation, it about control.

Today, we released for Movable Type Open Source a plugin called Action Streams 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. 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:

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.

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That's seven kinds of awesome. I'm looking forward to trying it out on my personal blog this evening.

Nice to feel a real buzz around MT again.

thanks for the info,this looks awesome

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