With more and more online services and social networks popping up each day, it gets harder and harder to follow the people you're interested in. To get all updates your friends make to the Web 2.0 you have to subscribe to a lot of feeds. And you have to keep up with subscribing whenever your friend joins a new network.
The answer to that trend is to provide a single, merged feed of all your online activities. This allows your friends (and stalkers ) to easily follow you. Whenever you join a new network you just add it to your “lifestream”.
I had a look at a few services which allow you to easily create such a life stream. Using them is easy: just register and tell them your user names and the services you use.
Mugshot is powered by the Linux company RedHat and is probably the one which is around for the longest time. Their design is a bit crowded for my taste. Their user search sometimes returned errors instead of results. They have a desktop client for displaying the updates of your friends, but I didn't try that one.
Supported Services: 16
Readr autoconnects your account with services that can identify you by your email address eg. Digg or Twitter. There seems to be no way to search for friends which already use the service. The only way to add friends is to send them invites through the service. Bad idea .
Supported Services: 22
Plaxo isn't really a pure lifestreaming service. They try to be their own Social Networking site with frienda, groups, widgeta and applications… But they also have a feature called Plaxo Pulse which essentially does what we're after. BTW. Plaxo is the only site that supports OpenID for login.
Supported Services: 32
FriendFeed was founded by a few Ex-Google employees. The site has lots of whitespace, maybe a bit too much. You can only search for friends by their email address. People not on the service can be invited or be added as “Imaginary Friends”. This means you can add them manually if you know their usernames at the various services. FriendFeed integrates in Facebook through its own application. An OpenSocial application is planned.
Supported Services: 29
From all the sites, Plaxo supports the most services. But I don't like the burden of yet another social networking site. So FriendFeed is my current favourite. The possibility to create lifestreams for people not registered by creating “Imaginary Friends” is unique between all those services. Follow my FriendFeed if you like.
BTW. Most of the sites above let you “import” friends by scanning your address book at popular mail services like GMail. You have to give them your password to do so. This is a really bad idea! Never ever give anyone your mail password! Even if those platforms are most probably trustworthy. Just don't do it, m'kay?
Do you have a lifestream? What Service do you use?