17 June 2009

5 Ways to Share Your Social Media Identity

16 06 2009 - One of the great things about the current web landscape is that the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs to create great new social media sites is very low. Open source, falling hardware and bandwidth costs, and social media itself (which can be used as a viral marketing vehicle), mean that enterprising developers can more easily than ever create amazing new services.

That’s great for consumers because it facilitates a lot of competition that leads to the best possible products. But it also means that most people end up using more than just a couple of social sites. We might use one site for sharing photos, another for sharing videos, and a couple more for sharing links.

The content we create on those sites makes up our social media identity, and as we use more sites, it becomes increasingly difficult to share it all from one place. Yesterday, I received an email from a friend whose signature had links to no less than eight social media profiles. Thankfully, there are better ways to share your social media identity. Below are five sites that offer social media badges you can share and embed.

1. Retaggr


Retaggr is a really well put together utility that lets users create a social media profile card, which not only displays links to your other social profiles, but includes a bio, picture, and other vital information. Most impressively, though, profile cards are interactive. Retaggr profile cards have built in widgets that let you display some of your social media content – blog posts, recent photos, tweets, etc. – directly inside your card. That means that not only can the profile cards point people toward all the pieces of your social media identity, but in many cases people can actually view your social media content without having to navigate away from wherever you’ve embedded the card.

Retaggr supports a very large number of websites, is embeddable, and can generate image-based cards for email and forum signatures. The company also operates the Add Me Button, which is a utility that allows users to create a single button linking visitors to all of their social media profiles.

2. Geek Chart


Geek Chart offers a unique spin on social media identity sharing. Rather than just make it easy to display links to your various social profiles, Geek Chart puts your social media use in perspective by letting you show exactly where you are most active. The site lets you create a clickable pie chart of your social media profiles that depicts your use of each site over the past 30 days — if you haven’t used a site in 30 days, the chart will not include that profile.

Geek Chart currently supports eight services, including Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Digg. It gets bonus points for allowing users to create a chart without signing up — though you can only embed the chart if you do. Users also get a profile page with a simple lifestream. Here’s one for US President Barack Obama, for example.

3. DuckDuckGo Karma


The Karma badge from alternative search engine DuckDuckGo is easily the most simple widget on this list. Essentially, Karma only displays social media links for sites that have some sort of ranking system, such as followers, points, or friends. It requires no sign up to create and works with 15 different sites.

DuckDuckGo also offers a Profiles widget, which supports a bunch more sites, but doesn’t display any ranking information. It’s just as easy to create, but perhaps a bit less interesting.


4. DandyID


If you want a profile badge service that supports that obscure, niche social network you’re active on, then DandyID is likely for you. DandyID offers a profile management service that is perhaps most impressive for the sheer number of services it supports: over 300. Once you’ve added your services – a process made less daunting by DandyID’s clever use of the Google Social Graph API, which finds and suggests your profile links after you’ve added the first couple – the site can generate JavaScript or image-based embeds to share your social profile links more easily, and also gives each user its own profile page, similar to Retaggr.

For developers, DandyID offers an API that lets web site owners push and pull profile and identity graph information, which has led to interesting mashups like this Firefox extension, which can automatically look up social profiles for people as you browse the web.

5. FriendFeed


Of course, being a full featured lifestreaming service and social network in its own right, FriendFeed offers a lot more than just the ability to create and embed social profile information – but they do offer that service, so they deserve a place on this list.

FriendFeed supports 58 social media services, and their embeddable “FriendFeed Badge” widget lets you share links to your profiles on all of them, as well as your activity on FriendFeed (which as you can tell from the screenshot above probably isn’t as much as it should be in my case). One of the great things about FriendFeed’s widget is that you can fully customize the CSS to make it match the look and feel of wherever you plan to embed it. Rival lifestreaming service Profilatic offers a similar badge widget, as do many other lifestreaming services.


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