I have always deplored redundancy and inefficiency – it makes me crazy. It makes my wife crazy that I am so nuts about it – she would rather just have me repeat doing something that have me fuss about it. But fuss I do.
And now we’ve built an application that has redundant data in it. I am referring to the information about myself in my profile. It’s some of the same fields that are found in MySpace and Facebook and any number of applications. It drives me crazy that we’ve done that. But the thing is – these are fields you have to have. You can’t really have a social networking application with out areas for people to personalize it – it just doesn’t work.
In my view it’s a kind of no win proposition for any social network: tick off your users by making them repeatedly input information about them selves, or tick them off by not allowing them to customize. OpenID might be a way to make it work – but it’s still a ways off. We’re exploring putting OpenID into place for rVibe, but I’m not sure.
A nice application would be an identity service that you filled in once – call it ‘extensis’. On any social network (rVibe included), you could just say “fill in from my ‘extensis’ profile.” Once and one. Extensis would have to have an api that was consumed by many social net apps, which would mean it needs to have an existing user base. To get there is might need to have a “reverse screen scraping” component to input data into your various networks. I don’t know.
But I’d be willing to explore embedding something like that into rVibe.