Profiles: Revenge of the Web
Online profile management is challenging, and basically, a pain in the rear. I start by making one change on one profile on one website. Now, I have to replicate that action on multiple websites to keep a consistent picture of me on the net. This process is cumbersome and painful to say the least. Really, does anyone remember all the sites that they create a profile on? I just found a profile on PC World’s site that was totally and completely outdated. I did not remember that I had a profile on that site as I am not a frequent visitor to it. However, it was there, nonetheless.
So what happens?
Often, one or two profiles stay up-to-date and the rest gets updated either infrequent basis or is forgotten.
Now, think about the harm in leaving outdated information online.
An inconsistent message is created.
It is more than just an inconsistent message. The information in a old profile may not be accurate. For most of us this probably does not matter much until you enter the job hunting arena. People search about people when looking for a job, considering someone for a promotion, considering doing business with you or your company, or people are just, frankly, nosy. How comfortable would you be with a prospective employer finding a five or ten-year-old online profile that they just happen to come across? Does it have huge amounts of missing information that might lead them to a negative decision regarding your qualifications, experience, or character?
Personally, I do not think it is worth the risk, so I spend one evening a quarter trying to roll through all of my profiles to keep them updated. In reality, I probably get about 75% to 80% of my profiles updated because I have done a poor job in documenting all the sites that create profiles. This is incredibly sad state of affairs for our digital age. On the positive side, the authentication mechanisms of Facebook and twitter have made the process simpler by pulling information from these highly popular sites.
What I really want is a single online identity managed from a single website that is pushed out to all websites that I use. This might be a great business for someone to develop, or heck, I will just login with Facebook and be done with it…