Rounding Up Friends (and their online profiles)

And figuring out if they’re really your friends too…

There’s a new set of standards being developed which aims to make it easier to discover existing friends on new social networks you join – the initiative is called The OpenFriend Project. It’s building on the chit chat from a few weeks back, and is being spearheaded by Anthony Romano of Tabber. This is a much needed idea-in-action, and implementation is going to create a lot of flexibility for users, particularly if the social network phenomena moves towards membership in multiple independent subject matter specific networks (as in groups, just not within some larger network). As distributed identity platforms such as OpenID take hold, I suspect that is exactly what is going to happen. (h/t to Pete Cashmore, who’s keeping his promise to keep up with this stuff for the rest of us!)

While having tons of portable friends is great, psychologists always say “know yourself” before you dive into relationships. For that, you have ProfileBuilder, which exists to help you create and manage a consistent profile. (Techcrunch gets the credit for this tidbit). Services like these are also needed, and for much the same reason as the above. However, there’s also going to be a need for people to maintain multiple profiles that can be “dragged and dropped” into newly joined networks – thankfully, ProfileBuilder has already thought of that. Note: TechCrunch highlighted that this space has several players, and I suspect it is going to get quite crowded as identity management and sharing standards proliferate.

To round up the week, Mashable also pointed us to a strangely needed Facebook app called “Profile Web Address.” Three points (sadly)…

  • I would have loved to provide a link, but I’m always a bit aggravated about having to log into Facebook to see new stuff, so I won’t burden you if you’re in the same boat.
  • I call it strange because I still can’t believe Facebook didn’t do this themselves from day one.
  • Lastly, this little app was not well thought out. There is no validation available for the name I choose, so I can assume any name I want. I could have used TinyURL and done pretty much the same – these profile URLs aren’t any more useful – just a simple redirect. I wound up choosing http://profile.to/williamgatesiii/ just to prove a point, and it worked just fine (note, I’ve since changed to http://profile.to/michaelgracie/ only because I wouldn’t want someone snatching my URL either).
  • There is cold beer, dog watching for the neighbors, and taking a few out-of-towners fishing in my immediate future. On the latter, I’ve provided a guarantee, although what exactly that guarantee entails will remain the subject of some internal debate. Wish me luck, and have a great weekend.

    UPDATE: Sean Aune follows up with 25+ Ways to Manage Your Online Identity.