Single profile, single identity?

Over at the Otter Group, Kathleen Gilroy’s post “Where oh where does my profile reside?” got me thinking about the convergence I see coming between persona, identity and social networking tools.

In thinking about building second generation web communities, I have come to believe that the online profile is at the heart the new web. In the search economy, you need a dynamic digital identity. It is the means by which the right people find you and then connect with you.

What I need is a place for my profile that can be plugged into any web service I join. And by plugged in I mean can dynamically draw text, bookmarks, images, and videos from all of these services and build them into a dynamic view of what’s going on now. And I’m not dealing with the issue of residing “inside” an enterprise.

I left this comment:

You’ve touched upon the next evolution that will likely happen to further social networks – the convergence between our own personal and/or professional profile information, our electronic portfolios and federated identity management. What will happen when we create a social network tool that allows you to create a single profile that you could then use to present yourself in other spheres of your practice: when commenting on the blogs of others, when joining and participating in communities of practice, when presenting yourself in virtual environments. Similar in theory to single sign-on, we would now have single identity, not in the sense of authentication to a service but in the sense of authenticating your persona.

Why should I need to create and re-create personal profiles when I log into a new Moodle host? Why should I need to worry about juggling multiple personas when I only want to manage one?

MySpace and Facebook started with the right idea, that each of us has a voice and that we find it important to be able to represent ourselves. But as netizens we now know that we need to make our voices heard and that it is time for social software to take the next step.

[tags]identity, profile, community, social_software[/tags]

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