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In the digital age, in addition to numerous advantages and opportunities, we are also increasingly confronted with new challenges. Information overload is one of them. Apart from the numerous social media and platforms, it is not too easy to keep the overview even within one. The definition of social media, besides its widespread understanding of communication and networking, has expanded to include being a considerable business tool for the acquisition of customers or partners and the recruitment of employees. The Activity Stream has become an efficient tool to help user keeping the overview and providing added value for companies as well as the user himself.
The Activity Stream is a type of digital interface component that lists, widely merges, and makes available, all the various activities recently performed by a person, typically on one single platform, to the user.
The Activity Stream is used in various social networks, websites, communication platforms, and tools in companies, as well as in business software these days. There the Activity Stream functions as communication highway saving time finding and filtering by automatically putting together, providing, and subsequently displaying user-defined, relevant information, as defined in advance. Examples of application are e.g. the feed on Facebook or the timeline on Twitter. Relevant information can be defined diversely, e.g. by networking with other users, by the following system or by likes, etc.. The displayed information includes pictures, documents, videos, texts, and other media.
Social networks with many users and consequently more participation, networking, and activities of those users, make activity streams work even more precisely.
By chronologically arranging and filtering activity updates, the displayed information can be defined very precisely, and thus, exactly the information that is relevant for the intended purpose can be received. Thereby, added value in work efficiency shall be achieved.
The Activity Stream also becomes more and more important within the business environment. Besides internal communication, it also gains in importance in customer management in sales. Lately, the implementation and integration take place more standardized and simplified. Companies such as Facebook and MySpace have already made their activity stream available for developers to use (for free). With tools such as Stream-API developers can easily integrate the Activity Stream into their projects and platforms. This is now in use on various social networks.
However, the Activity Stream tends to focus on the “superficial” flow of information, thus it is not applicable for deeper structures of information.
A basic distinction is made between generic and personalized feeds. With generic feeds, all users can see the same content in the activity stream. With personal feeds, every user receives customized content elements as well as a user-defined ranking of each item in the feed.
In addition to new communication tools, the activity stream can be perfectly used in the context of the digital workplace in internal company communication to promote internal exchange and cooperation. This closes the gap between the exchange of documents on the Share Point and purely informative instant messages / direct messages (within projects or work groups). As a result, questions, answers, ideas, documents or their updates, invitations to certain events, and information are compiled and displayed in a personalized manner according to predefined relevance - instead of just what is new or what is currently being searched for.
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