The Popular Podcast #144: Lifestream addiction exposed

What is lifestream addiction? It’s a dependence on making life public to a community to maintain accountability and self discipline. But is it a vice? Do we ideally not need a lifestream? Kelly and Jessica have a very awkward conversation about what Jessica revealed in the premium post. So THAT’S why she had that Happy Meal…



European relapse

Goodbye Europe

My last Portuguese sunset seen from the 10th floor of the Holiday Inn

The majority of the following was written on my plane ride from Lisbon, Portugal to Newark, New Jersey, 7/30/09 11:53am

I argue for complete transparency and monitoring of all activities. I have created a system that allows me to do so. When that system breaks down, so do I. I have an addiction, a self-obsession, without which I revert to depression, low self-esteem, and relapses into very.bad.habits.

The so-called lifestyle I have designed for myself in Austin with my partner Kelly is fragile. It is dependent on dozens of factors to maintain. Throughout my absence I craved the habits and structure and activities that Kelly and I have so lovingly arranged and documented together. The conversation I had with two artists on the plane to Berlin made me see that lifestreaming truly is a dependence on digital technology for criticism, feedback, and self-awareness. And the most vital work in my lifestream, the podcast, can’t be done without Kelly. The emotional dependence on Kelly is a happy conclusion, that will likely result in some sort of gay wedding wherein we demand gifts from our devoted fans. But the addiction to lifestreaming is more curious and forces me to reflect deeper on its implications and uses.

Portugal to Berlin

Strangers on the plane, Carlos and Paolo

As a whole, I speak highly of lifestreaming. I firmly believe in its value. But the dependence of my health and mental well-being on a ubiquitous internet connection is somewhat frightening. I crave community feedback, and I take worse care of myself without that support. Here is where the true value of a lifestream lies. Yes, it is a diary. But it is a public diary, and without the participatory nature that web 2.0 affords us, my diary would scantly improve. I rely on the group to improve myself.

That dependence on community should never be ignored. We must ignite others, share, and listen. Occasional boiling animosity and arrogance must be processed in a way that does not alienate. Though to take a route of offense might be more effective than trying to play nice.

Twitter / David Botevyle: @jessicamullen I'm certain ...

A lifestyle design based on lifestreaming is exceptionally delicate. It is only as sustainable as my internet connection. It is a system available only to few, and that is a global problem.

At the #ISDT09 conference, I constantly felt like the least altruistic, most self-obsessed person in the room. I’m not an activist, I don’t work for a non-profit, and I don’t particularly care to involve myself in the intricacies of implementing e-governance in the municipalities of Porto. But then I was talking with my sister’s friend Mara about putting all of my work into the public domain, to which she replied was a rather altruistic action. Perhaps she is right. I lifestream my ideas and creations freely with the hope that they will someday be of use to someone else. That is what a lifestreamer can offer the community at large in exchange for support, whether social or monetary.

It is my hope that through lifestreaming, we will find that sweet spot, where we are being true to our ideological principles of free information while comfortably supporting ourselves with this work. We don’t want to be prostitutes, but we are comfortable with sharing sexual information. We don’t want to be hypocrites, but we are fucking desperate for money.

And thus we embark on many campaigns, throwing shit at the wall until something sticks. We want to create a lifestream model that anyone can replicate. We’re not interested in creating a proprietary system. You may have noticed that I am using “we” a lot more in this post, and I realize that is one of the contingencies in living the perfectly designed lifestyle that I so desire. Kelly and I are a team, and this part of our particular lifestream design solution might not be so replicable. But we will continue to deconstruct our lives into 1s and 0s to find the formula for a successful lifestream in the information age. We want to show you that lifestyle design, however tenuously managed, is worth your own time and commitment. And we want to satisfy the voyeuristic tendencies that you have at the same time.

Lifestreaming is self-discipline. And instead of turning my life into a monotonous routine, it has enabled me to take more risks. Including revealing to you the following…

So do you want to know the terrible, awful thing I did while away? The horrible habit I fell so easily back into? Continue reading to take a brief trip into the slums of eating disorder relapse.


Jessica was too obsessed with her tutu

First stab at recording #144, but Jessica was too obsessed with her tutu and Kelly has issues with what’s written below. But hasn’t the value of our lives increased since there has been an audience?

Is a lifestream really an addiction? | 00:02:59

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I have been dreading writing this for a number of reasons, though past experience has taught me the only way out is through. I have been unable to do much the last few days but eat, drink and read. My desire to create has waned to disturbingly low levels, reminiscent of my last return from Europe in February of 2007.

I cried more in the past two weeks than I have in the past year. My homesickness repulsed and relieved me. I have not had to deal with myself alone in years.

In college, I became bulimic for a number of reasons. Aside from blaming the US food industry, I had very low self-esteem and an extreme need to please. Years of therapy largely reversed these patterns. But bulimia is a drug, and when the drug of lifestreaming was removed from my life I started craving it again. It is an excellent stress reliever, and when my final night in Portugal left me stressed and alone, I felt I had little choice.

I won’t delve into details, but you can see where this is going. A mental health issue I brag about overcoming more than three years ago resurfaced so very easily, when the circumstances were right. If lifestreaming is the drug to replace such dangerous behavior, I gratefully accept the addiction.