January 17, 2009

DandyID's Dandy Idea: Connecting Your Diverse Online Identities

By Ken Stewart of ChangeForge (Twitter/FriendFeed)

"One place to manage you and your relationships online," the slogan goes. Although it sounds a bit like a dating site, DandyID (launched in May of 2008 by co-founders Sara Czyzewicz and Arron Kallenberg) offers an intriguing way to connect your online identities. While many aggregators offer the promise of an integrated panacea, DandyID proposes taking it one step further.

Are you connected with someone on Facebook and don't know their Twitter handle? Are you following someone's blog on Blogger, and you want to know their FriendFeed URL? Well, DandyID not only offers you the promise of unifying the varied fragments of your online persona, but allows you to explore the possibility of uncovering just where you and your friends' online lives touch.

Think LinkedIn's degrees of connection, but expand that to over 100 social media sites - and now you might just have a powerful relationship building platform.

The Good Stuff:
  1. Wordpress Widget: DandyID offers a widget for my blog, where I can publish a readily available menu of places my readers can connect with me using other services. There was no complex configuration. I added the widget, entered my e-mail address, and it synched all of my selected services right across.

  2. Auto-Population: When I was first configuring my profile in DandyID, I started with my FriendFeed account. I was amazed that it then went on to poll all of the feeds I had configured within FriendFeed - dramatically speeding that often tedious process of configuring yet another social media site to connect with all of your others.

  3. Suggested Relationships: Perhaps one of the most interesting features was the option of suggested relationships. True to their word, the makers of DandyID offered me a few DandyID subscribers (Chris Brogan and Tina aka Stupid Blogger) to connect with.

Will DandyID Become a Launch-Pad?

Launch-Pad is DandyID's answer to a closed web. It attempts to become the single portal through which you can visit over 70 of your favorite sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and the list goes on. DandyID's blog had this to say about Launch-Pad, now in private alpha):
Make no mistake, DandyID does not view Launch-Pad as an ideal solution to the plethora of walled gardens that exists online today; but rather as a band-aid for users who are suffering as a result of a closed web — it is our knee-jerk response to an imperfect internet. DandyID’s long-term focus is on building services that empower the user and add-value on top of [Joseph Smarr's] New Open Stack.
I have requested an invitation to the Launch-Pad alpha, and hope to have a review of it for all of the LouisGray.com viewers in the coming weeks.

Is DandyID There Yet?

I have been impressed with how smooth the integrations have been with the various services. While the overall power of a service such as this will only come through massive adoption, I have been readily impressed by the ease of configuration and suggestive logic deployed.

In reading DandyID's sparse blog, I get a feeling that Sarah and Arron are attempting to deliver a special answer to the barrage of sites to which we find ourselves subscribing - attempting to find a way to help us discover a deeper level of meaning in our community.While the service is still less than a year old, I highly suggest you take a look at what's under the hood. I look forward to seeing you around the block, and who knows - maybe DandyID can help us stitch together the scraps of fabric we now call social media.

Ken Stewart’s blog, ChangeForge.com, focuses on the collision between the constantly changing worlds of business and technology. To learn more about Ken, you may visit him at DandyID.