Please Make Holes in My Buckets! [en]

[fr] Tour d'horizon de mes différents "profils" à droite et a gauche dans le paysage des outils sociaux (social tools). Il manque de la communication entre ces différents services, et mon identité en ligne s'en trouve fragmentée et lourde à gérer. Ajouter des contacts en se basant sur mon carnet d'adresses Gmail est un bon début, mais on peut aller plus loin. Importer ses livres préférés ou des éléments de CV d'un profil à l'autre, par exemple.

Facebook is Stowe‘s fault. Twitter was because of Euan. Anne Dominique is guilty of getting me on Xing/OpenBC. I can’t remember precisely for Flickr or LinkedIn or — OMG! — orkut, but it was certainly somebody from #joiito. The culprits for, DailyMotion and YouTube have disappeared into the limbo of lost memories. Kevin encouraged me to sign up for a good dozen of blogging platforms, open a MySpace account, and he’s probably to blame for me being on Upcoming. As for, I’ll blame Matt because he’s behind all that.

Granted, I’m probably the only one responsible for having gotten into blogging in the first place.

Let’s get back on track. My aim here is not primarily to point an accusing finger to all my devious friends who introduced me to these fun, addictive, time-consuming tools (though it’s interesting to note how one forgets those things, in passing). It’s more a sort of round-up of a bunch of my “online selves”. I feel a little scattered, my friends. Here are all these buckets in which I place stuff, but there aren’t enough holes in them.

Feeds are good. Feeds allow me to have Twitter,, Flickr, and even stuff in my blog sidebar. It also allows me to connect my blogs to one another, and into Facebook. Here, though, we’re talking “content” much more than “self”.

One example I’ve already certainly talked about (but no courage to dig it out, my blog is starting to be a huge thing in which I can’t find stuff I know it contains) is contacts or buddies — the “Mine” in Stowe’s analysis of social applications. I have buddy lists on IM and Skype, contacts on Flickr and just about every service I mentioned in this post. Of course, I don’t want to necessarily have the same contacts everywhere. I might love your photos on Flickr and add you as a contact, but not see any interest in adding you to my business network on LinkedIn. Some people, though — my friends — I’ll want to have more or less everywhere.

So, here’s a hole in the buckets that I really like: I’ve seen this in many services, but the first time I saw it was on Myspace. “Let us peek in your GMail contacts, and we’ll tell you who already has an account — and let you invite the others.” When I saw that, it scared me (“OMG! Myspace sticking its nose in my e-mail!”) but I also found it really exciting. Now, it would be even better if I could say “import friends and family from Flickr” or “let me choose amongst my IM buddies”, but it’s a good start. Yes, there’s a danger: no, I don’t want to spam invitations to your service to the 450 unknown adresses you found in my contacts, thankyouverymuch. Plaxo is a way to do this (I’ve seen it criticised but I can’t precisely remember why). Facebook does it, which means that within 2 minutes you can already have friends in the network. Twitter doesn’t, which means you have to painstakingly go through your friends of friends lists to get started. I think coComment and any “friend-powered” service should allow us to import contacts like that by now. And yes, sure, privacy issues.

But what about all my profile information? I don’t want to have to dig out my favourite movies each time I sign up to a new service. Or my favourite books. Or the schools I went to. I mean, some things are reasonably stable. Why couldn’t I have all that in a central repository, once and for all, and just have all these neat social tools import the information from there? Earlier today, David was telling me over IM that he’d like to have a central service to bring all our Facebook, LinkedIn, OpenBC/Xing, and MySpace stuff together. Or a way to publish his CV/résumé online and allow Facebook to access it to grab data from it. Good ideas, in my opinion.

I’ll mention OpenID here, but just in passing, because although in my dreams in used to hold the promise of this centralised repository of “all things me”, I don’t think that it’s what it has been designed for (if I get it correctly, it is identity verification and doesn’t have much to do with the contents of this identity). Microformats could on the other hand certainly come in handy here.

So, please, make more holes in my buckets. Importing Gmail contacts in sticking feeds here and there is nice, but not sufficient. For the moment, Facebook seems promising. But let me use Twitter for my statuses, for example, or at least include the feed somewhere (I can only include one feed, so I’ve included my suprglu one, but it has a huge lag and is not very satisfying). Let me put photographs in my albums directly from Flickr. Talk with the profiles I made with other similar services. Grab my school and work info from LinkedIn and OpenBC. Then make all this information you have about me available to republish how I want it (feeds, feeds, feeds! widgets! buttons! badges!) where I want it.

Also, more granularity. Facebook has a good helping of it: I can choose which type of information I want to see from my contacts. I can restrict certain contacts from seeing certain parts of my profile. I’d like fine control on who can see what, also by sorting my people into “buddy groups”. “Friends” and “Family” as on Flickr is just not enough. And maybe Facebook could come and present me with Stowe-groupings of my contacts, based on the interactions I have with them.

Share your wild ideas here if you have any.

11 thoughts on “Please Make Holes in My Buckets! [en]

  1. Only realising right now that I totally forgot to include Google Reader (or whatever your news reader is), blogroll apps, coComment, etc here. I share items on Google Reader, but they never reach Facebook. My friends on Facebook have blogs, how could I generate a blogroll out of them? Or generate a blogroll based on where I comment (coComment) and what I read (news reader)?

    Also, “sharing” is often cumbersome. I can put things in my Google Reader shared items only if I read them in my newsreader. I can put things in only if I view them on the web or if there is an “add to” link in my newsreader. Facebook gives me a bookmarklet, which is neat, but won’t work in my newsreader.

    Maybe the simplest thing to do, come to think of it, is to get microchipped 😉

  2. openid gère aussi, outre l’identité, les attributs (ou profil) ( nickname, mail, ….) . J’en parle plus dans un article ici : . L’ensemble des attributs est assez basique dans la version 1.0 d’openid mais c’est déjà un bon début. Ces attributs openid peuvent alimenter le profils de services qui acceptent une identification openid (,, etc)

    A ce propos il existe des plugins wordpress qui permettent aux visiteurs de s’identifier avec leur openid pour laisser des commentaires 🙂

  3. Le pire c’est que je l’ai installé, le fameux plugin. Mais j’ai dûr rater une étape quelque part…

  4. en tous cas, et c’est utile à savoir, openid permet la délégation, un mécanisme qui consiste à donner par exemple aux services compatibles (comme magnolia) son site web comme identifiant openid (ex : , et de déléguer la mise en oeuvre de l’authentification à un service tiers ( en ajoutant deux lignes à sa page web. Ainsi si l’on souhaite changer de serveur openid (pour aller de myopenid à, rien n’est changé pour les services tiers : ils s’adressent toujours (par exemple) à .
    Si Yahoo! permettait d’utiliser openid j’aurais toujours eu accès à flickr après le 15 mars 2007.

    Les deux lignes en questions (dans mon cas ) :

    si le formatage des lignes ci-dessus est cassé (pas le temps de faire tous les ‘escape’, il suffit d’afficher le source de ma page perso (cliquer sur mon nom pour y aller)

    Bonne soirée

  5. Do you like the ‘newsfeed info sliders’ that Facebook offers? I still see huge privacy issues all over the place, things that I would normally swipe aside by saying “well, people are giving up their privacy for this trade-off, they’re cognizant of what they’re doing” but when I talk to my peers, the main demographic for Facebook, so many of them don’t even realize some of the risks they put themselves in. Tsk, tsk.

  6. I smiled to read your list of who hooked you onto a given app. It reminded me of the idea of mavens and connectors from the Tipping Point. There are people who introduce ideas and trends moreso than others. Wouldn’t it be neat if along with our profiles for each of these services, we had a way to showcase who we picked it up from? When I was on livejournal years ago, there was a meme that circulated that asked you to share how you started on LJ. As social networking becomes increasingly legitimized (it’s ok to refer to someone you’ve never met as ‘your friend’), I think it would be great to be able to trace those relationships and introductions.

    I also wonder if people truly want 100% integration of all their circles…

  7. We Need Structured Portable Social Networks (SPSN)…

    Scrolling through my “trash” e-mail address to report spam, I spotted (quite by chance, I have to say) a nice e-mail from Barney, who works at Lijit. Barney asked me if I had any feedback, which I’ll give in my next post, because I ne…

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