I am a member of way too many online services. You probably are too. There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Posterous, Brazen Careerist, Delicious, Squidoo, Ning, WordPress.com – and those are just the ones that I use at least once a month. I’ve also got placeholder accounts set up at a variety of services in case I ever want to use them.
Even if I never log in, I still have profiles. And if I want to do something like change my picture, I have to log in to each and every one to do so. Granted, I can use Facebook Connect and Twitter OAuth to log in on many sites, which ties my profiles to just two places. But not every place supports those services, and even if they do, chances are the profiles ask for different information. On Twitter, I have 160 characters and a URL to describe myself. On Facebook, I have as much room as I want to use. And what if I want to use different elements of each profile? Maybe I want to include my favorite books from Facebook and my educational background from LinkedIn. I can’t think of an easy way to do that right now.
I want to build a way to manage my entire identity online. This is the idea behind OpenID I suppose. But I want to build the reverse. Even if I have one set of credentials to log in everywhere, I still have 18 different profiles (I just made that number up, but you get the idea). What I want to build is kind of a modular system where you input all of your information that you’d ever want to share. Then you provide the system with your login information and check off what you want your profile to say where. Every time you update the modules, this updater propagates the changes to all of the other services you interact with. So it’ll no longer take you a half a day to update your picture and bio on all of your profiles – you do it once and the system does the rest. The closest analogy I have it that it’s like Ping.fm, but for profiles.
Now I know it’s a bit silly to be sharing this on my blog. What I should do is go find an engineer or two, build this, find funding, and launch it. By posting it here, I’m letting this idea out into the wild where others can create it without having any obligation to me. That’s a risk I’m willing to take because, well, I honestly have no idea if I could get this thing off the ground. For that matter, it may already exist. Or it could violate the TOS of any of the websites that it would update.
While I figure that all out, what do you think? Would you use this updater? What am I missing? I’d love to get some feedback.