One of the next great things on the web seems to be profile aggregators that somehow bring all of your online profiles together so that you don’t get confused as to where you have been. At least I think that is the point of them, however many of the ones that I have looked at seem to be missing one important thing. The social aspect of all the communities that people join.
Sure we may all join too many Social Networks and have accounts at more places than we can remember, but I’m pretty sure we don’t forget the places that get the job done for us. If you have an account on MySpace, Facebook and Digg are you going to invite people to view your people aggregated profile or look for them at each of those services? Profile aggregators attempt to fix a the problem of making our lives simpler, but these Social Networks aren’t making our lives harder.
So what problem should they be solving?
Well first if you have no idea what I am referring to when I say “profile aggregators”, Frank Gruber has an excellent roundup of a number of them out there. Now that we got that out the way let’s look at problems that we could be solving.
Actually this is as far as I can take things because I honestly don’t know a huge problem that social networks. I don’t have people asking me for all of my identities across them and I don’t find myself needing a spot to see what stuff I have been up to on these sites. Honestly though last year I thought that the idea was brilliant because initially it makes sense. Bring all your identities together, but all that does is try to take away the uniqueness of each one.
If your problem is you don’t have enough time for 3 different social networks then the solution isn’t to use a profile aggregator, but to simply stop using 3 different social networks. Maybe these sites think that they can become a better social network than the social networks you love and use and if that’s the case they need to start all over again.
The irony though of adding any social aspects to these kinds of sites is that essentially you are creating another identity that you have to keep track of. So its great that you pulled all of your social information onto one page and now you can use just one site to keep track of all your identities, but then you are just creating another identity so do you need another site to control that one?
There is a space for these kinds of sites though and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. However, when there are at least ten of them already there isn’t really any point to using one of them. For now though I think it is best you focus on creating a social experience that does things better than what is currently out there.