Identity and Privacy

02/18/2007 21:39:24
tags: ideas, social, web

I recently discovered microformats, which prompted me to think again about a problem that is screaming for a solution:

In today’s era of instant search and connectedness, I am still intrigued at the difficulty of maintaining and sharing up-to-date contact information.

When I change my phone number or mailing address, it’s still incredible how broken the process for notifying my friends and family is:

  • I update my “me” record in my address book program (Apple’s Address Book for anyone who cares)

  • I send an email to groups within my address book (friends, family, etc).

  • I send separate emails, or update my information on websites for my employer, magazines and journals I subscribe to, organizations I belong to, credit card companies, etc)

  • Then I have to trust that the people I notify take the time to update their address book

  • Respond to the inevitable “What was your new email address/phone number/address/etc?” requests down the road from those that did not update their address book

It would seem that should be a problem with a solution.

Thoughts for finishing this:

  • different roles (each with separate contact info)
  • mechanism for privacy (I don’t want everyone getting my cell phone number)
  • conversely, should I know who has downloaded my contact information
  • notifying others of changes
  • “politeness” - how I define a relationship with someone may be different than how they define their relationship with me…

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