Back in 2009, I wrote some thoughts on the information elements and architecture of my site and said:
I need to give myself permission to do shorter, less well-thought-out posts and not feel that every post has to be an epic article.
then mused about a distinction between blog posts that are:
This got me thinking about something in between blogging and twitter where I could jot down half-baked thoughts as they came to me.
As I thought about it more, I started thinking about the relationship between these "musings". One musing might present an idea I just had that I want to get out there. Another might be some follow on thoughts. Notes. Experiments. Observations. It seems like there's a sense in which some of these musings can be threaded together. Different threads could split apart or come together. Some may grow into entire projects.
I came up with the term "thought stream" for this (although it's been used for other things and I never really went looking for alternative names).
I started thinking about how thought streams may be shared, or collaborated on. Never got particularly far on the details and never got to implementing anything. I shared some of my thinking on twitter at the time and I think some people related it to Tumblr but it seemed (and still seems) different to me. Each new thought or musing would be the start of a new stream. It's almost like having a blog for every idea you have, or every concept you want to explore.
Sometimes I tweet my ideas and thoughts, but they often become conversations with myself as I refine those ideas and thoughts. Twitter is not the best tool for that. I'm hoping this will be.
The software that powered my blog / wiki was called Leonardo because of the notion of a notebook for scholars. That might still be a good name for this software, even if the hosted service is called something else and the concept is still called thought streams.
"a micro-blog for every idea"
"live tweeting your thoughts"
It's partly just note-taking and brainstorming in twitter form, but every project or every idea is its own stream.
Basically, I rarely have time to write well though out blog posts about this sort of stuff. I wanted a way of sharing my ideas without spamming my twitter followers, although I want to have some level of integration with twitter.
The posts will be unlimited length and use markdown so you can almost blog with it too.
...actually, drop the "almost".
Take git's idea of "cheap branching" and apply it to blogging / micro-blogging.
The idea is it's just as easy to create a new stream as to make a new post.
I imagine I'd have a stream for each project I'm working on, for example and even each idea I want to think about within each project.
I'll probably need the idea of "closing" a stream when done—almost a pull request with the conclusion.
...so you can branch off, consider a bunch of stuff, come to a conclusion, then "merge" that conclusion back into the parent.
"a pinterest for your thoughts"
Some cards are clearly calls to action, explicitly posing questions or avenues to pursue. I wonder if we should allow cards to be marked as such (almost a form of "todo").
As well as a great hacker diary, it can be also used to take notes on books, etc.
Phase One: making it easier to author and organize
Phase Two: making it easier to find good people and content
Phase Three: make it easier to collaborate and converse
It would actually be possible, without much modification, to use Thought Streams as a kanban board.
When mapping various applications into thoughtstreams, I often to the conclusion that it's better to map what might normally be thought of as a "post" to an entire stream to allow cards to represent something more fine-grained.
This highlights even more the need for some streams to come under other streams.
I've planned from the start to do a lightweight anonymous "kudos" like Svtble but I'm also considering a Slashdot style "informative, insightful, funny, ..."
I wonder if it would be worthwhile being able to mark on a card that it's corrected in a subsequent card.
I still think it needs to be easier to jot down thoughts in thoughtstreams.
I think there needs to be a public version of the Inbox; i.e. a single public general stream each user has to get thoughts out there quickly before there's an obvious stream to put them in.
In a way, it would be the traditional microblog.
In fact, maybe I should just make the Inbox cards optionally public.
Dustin Curtis's What I Would Have Written is a pretty great description of the problem for which ThoughtStreams is trying to be the solution.
If wikis and Twitter had a baby, it would be ThoughtStreams.
You just wrote a comment on Hacker News then realize you have a bunch of follow-on thoughts. They're not yet well-formed enough for an article. They're longer than a tweet.
That's what ThoughtStreams is for.
In some respects, ThoughtStreams gives you an instant "Hemingway mode" for getting down your thoughts.
It encourages you to put something down, save or even publish it, and then continue to add to it rather than continue to futz around editing what you've already written.
Of course you can go back and edit later, but ThoughtStreams gives you permission to get stuff out as you think of it, setting the expectation that it is a stream of thoughts that will evolve.
I think we're finally starting to reach the critical mass of content where we actually want to default to the "favorited-only" people and streams.
Or perhaps make it configurable. And when new users start they get the firehose. Once they've favorited a certain number of people or streams, they can switch over to the "favorited-only by default". We can even suggest they do so when a threshold of favorites is reached.
Anonymous, unsolicited comments people have made when they see this site.
I thought it would be an interesting experiment with ThoughtStreams to be transparent about how much work has been put into the site versus how much revenue it's generated.
Mostly an umbrella for child streams on individual features planned.