launches new “open profiles,” social software’s killer app!

I admit it — I’m a sucker for social networking websites as evidenced by the large number I’ve joined. I’ve referred to my behavior as an online community fetish, in fact.

The one grievance I’ve always had with all these sites is that they all offer you an opportunity to create a “profile” at their site, each with their own fields of data which you can key information into. This is cool, the first, second, maybe third time you create a profile at one of the many sites. After that, it gets repetitive and makes keeping your profile current nearly impossible. I understand that FOAF and the Friend of a Friend project were supposed to address this problem, but having an XML specification alone hasn’t solved the problem. What was needed was a killer app. that accomplished what FOAF was meant to solve, regardless of whether it used FOAF underneath or not.

Well, I hadn’t logged into in months — otherwise I would have seen the message from Chris Law on June 15 announcing their new “open profiles” feature. I also would have caught it on June 16 if I’d subscribed to Mark Pincus‘s blog (which I just did) where he announced it, but luckily I’ve been a subscriber of Greg Yardley‘s blog who wrote about it this morning.

Like I said earlier, profiles are nothing new, but what’s so killer about’s new feature is what they’re calling TribeCast, which is a way to publish “modules” from your profile into your own web pages by embedding a bit of script in your page. At launch, they’re offering three modules: your friends, your tribes and your listings. Looking at the script that they generate, it looks eerily similar to Google’s AdSense code — makes perfect sense, since it’s a very smart way of implementing such a feature. I sure hope Google hasn’t been able to patent such a technique — that’d be a crying shame.

Well, I tip my hat to the folks, they’ve figured out how to crack the social network profile nut and they did it well. This is the killer app. for the social networking space, and’s got first-mover advantage. Good for them. I hope this brings some prosperity to their team.

To see what my profile looks like, it’s here: Dossy’s Profile.

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