I am evidently not alone in my lament over having to re-create myself every time I join another social network. As I mentioned earlier this week, I was invited to Pownce and immediately faced the prospect of having to figure out who my friends are there, add them as friends, let them add me as a friend, and build from there. This was just after I went through a similar process on Facebook.
Actually, Facebook’s friend-finding sucks for the most part, in my opinion. There are many contacts I have on the web, particularly at Flickr, who do not have my email address, nor do I have theirs. Yet, if they were on Facebook, I would certainly add them as friends. The same is true for Twitter, and blogs I read, and bloggers I enjoy. On the other hand, I have around 200 email contacts that I’d just as soon never find me on Facebook, because they are contacts completely unrelated to my activities online and occupy a different line in my time/space continuum. So why can’t I just search on a name or a handle or better yet — an OpenID? If they have it, I can add them; if they don’t, I won’t.
Todd Zeigler at the Bivings Report wrote about the same frustrations yesterday. Creating a new “self” every time we join a social network is a pain! Todd calls for a “portable profile” that includes a suggestion by Tony MacDonnell for a “portable friends system”. I agree, and would pay for a service that allowed me to have a “lifetime profile” where I could associate this site, my social networking sites and mirror-microblog so that I’m not updating Twitter, Facebook, this blog and anything else I might be part of. By the time I post the same update in two other places I’ve more or less spammed content across a couple of different networks…not my idea of how things should be done.
Truth be told, I’m no social butterfly anyway, but I do enjoy interactivity on the net. Most of my contacts and feeds are people that I learn from, and I don’t mind learning no matter where I might land. But time is really too short, and too jammed to spend any of it duplicating effort. To me, this is the next big leap in the evolution of social networking on the web — portability from one site to the next, with interoperability for things like photo streams, music, video, etc.
OpenID seems to have the most potential to make it happen — let’s see what they can do. (Hint — I’ll PAY…)
- Live Earth
- Blueswarm: Many Profiles in One Place