Social Networking and Universal Profiles


This social networking thing is going off. Tribe, Friendster, Meetup, Here’s a great list of them all and software . There’s a progression here. Off the top of my head it seems to be, roughly: BBSes, Email Listservs, the Well. Then the whole “online community” hosted web forum in the boom and AOL, Craigslist and activity partners and personals, IM. Then Web personals hitting big and Social Networking sites like Ryze and Web personals get more tools like ‘wink’. Now Friendster with testimonials and degrees, Meetup for affinity groups, Tribe.

So where is it all going? I think the answer lies in the question “How many groups can one person really devote time to?”

I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s going towards one central profile. Everybody could have only one profile on the Web, a sort of “Universal Profile” (UP) that is viewable on any browser and with it’s own address, with pictures, writings, and links to other pages! I know, I know, sounds like a… Web page!

But it wouldn’t be just like the Web now; because the trick is that it is not totally public. These sites all have internal messaging and private address and hidden names. You’ll have to be able to choose who sees what on this new kind of Web page and the default is that nobody could track your physical whereabouts from your UP. And you once the metadata gets worked out, or even before if you can get hooks into other sites dBes, you can choose to have your UP listed on other sites like Friendster, etc. One set of essays, pictures, and resume to maintain.

For all of you out there who’ve have your own web portfolios for years, this will seem obvious. But for the general public, it’s going to take a little convincing. But it will happen I think and we’re closer then ever. It’s going to take is enough people to see the benefits of having anyone be able to print your resume out of their printer instantly, or be able to see you on 10 dating sites, and it will take off I think.

Along these lines, and perhaps at the very core of this emerging problem of…call it…Social Network Overload…is interoperability (see blog by Adam Greenfield ) and I’m sure a lot more thoughts on this I have not found.

I’m sure new features are on their way, or already out there. I’d love to have degrees of separation on Friendster be searchable so I can find only those folks that are one degree away. Also, I’d like a lot more classifications of relationship then “friend.” How about “Ex blank” “cafe friend” “best friend” “former work friend” etc. and how about testimonials that are bad!? That you don’t approve…humm

This is going to be very interesting to watch evolve! Will soon be a sort of global village gathering around the gleam of the screens like the firelight of the fires we used to gather around 20,000 years ago? Wait, didn’t someone else talk about that?

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