Friday, December 28, 2007

Your Social Network

Full Image at title or click this fragment.

I also want to add that I do think there is a use for this stuff. If you've ever posted any sort of resume online (and I have) you may have given away more information than you would on one of these social networks.

It would make sense to have a central place to post (for example) a complete resume, including all sorts of personal details (name address phone number) but only have that information available to a select few, for example with a key that can be reset as in your Google photo albums. No need for this information to even be available to your "friends" list.

I have at times submitted resumes without full contact information, or without salary history, or without a previous employment history at all.

Can the interface be made simple enough to use, and yet allow for all these variations (and more)? If so, it would be a great alternative to keeping track of all the variations with Word documents, PDFs, etc. Updating a field, like your phone number, would be a one step process, and only those with "need to know" would ever see this information.

Unfortunately I don't think any of the existing "Social" sites approach this seriously (especially Facebook, which makes a lot of claims in this area).

Here is an idea, free for the taking (patent pending):

A single place where all such information about your career life, social life, dating preferences, hobbies, etc. can be typed in using combinations of free-form fields, check-boxes, menu-lists, etc. Now the hard part, as I've mentioned, is making the access matrix both easy to set up, but complex in how it parcels out information. Not desirable for a potential employer to see your dating preferences, nor for a potential date to see your employment history. It needs to be EASY for you to keep these things straight, not a complex maze as Facebook now has. I personally think that Facebook is working at too many cross purposes to make this even possible.

Orkut, on the other hand, hasn't painted itself into a corner yet by making all sorts of high minded claims while actually implementing something totally different.

For Orkut, it should be possible for me to make both my friends list and my interest groups information invisible to everyone, or only visible to selected individuals. Facebook has addressed this to a limited extent, but then muck it up with their need to generate revenue. Google doesn't have this problem, Orkut is just one of the many products they have to keep you connected to them and viewing ads, they don't live or die by Orkut.

Finally, if all of this information could be collected, and properly segmented and secured, I should be able to do the following things with it:

1: Generate a nicely formatted resume for printing out or e-mailing or posting on a web page (with a revocable key in the last case). There might be a variety of formatting options for standard government resume formats, or more casual forms.

2: Generate a business card summary from above information. There are of course $69 Windows programs to do this item and the one above, but I don't NEED or want to manage such a system on a single PC, especially a Windows one with all the security and database corruption issues it has. Windows has been so bad it has made it positively acceptable to get data off your local PC as fast as possible and onto secure servers somewhere (but NOT a Windows Home Server!).

3. Coupled with online calendar information, photos, blogs, news feeds, address lists, credit card data, and so on, you could also do automated slide shows, photo albums, either online or for printing, holiday card processing...

I can't think of anything you wouldn't want to connect up to this, assuming of course that you have confidence in the security of the application, and as I've mentioned, the online alternatives don't have a very high hurdle to get over to be way ahead of what Windows has established as baseline for local storage.

Supposedly, Google is working on an online health system that would keep (will it be selected, or all?) of your medical history, prescriptions, allergies, and so on that can be rapidly and easily shared with your medical professionals. If this can be done in such a way that people trust it, I see no reason why even less sensitive information that would go into a resume or business card, can't also be stored online, all the time, for those with a "need to know" to get at.

See also: A Lover's Journal: Contacts Management System

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