i want to love Yahoo! Profiles, but i can’t.
First off. Let me note that this is the very first iteration of things and that there will be improvements. At least i hope to hell there will be. For me, it’s not the look or feel of the page (ok, part of that, but i’ll get to it)
Let me start from the top shall we?
Web 2.0 was all about interconnection. People used nifty tools like Y!Pipes and My Yahoo to get data the way they want to use it when they want to use it and how they want to use it. Data was free and a thousand mashups followed. Then it became old hat and folks starting to bitch and well, we’re here today.
So, in some respects, i suppose that it’s forward(?) looking that the brand new Profiles was built like a 1998 page. Actually, it’s worse than that. In 1998 you could at least scrape them.
There is no way to get the data off the pages. Yes, you could use the address book API, but that doesn’t have activity streams associated with it. Yep, no RSS feed to find out what folks are doing so it’s the digital equivalent of writing on a bathroom stall, only one that doesn’t really get frequented very often. There’s also no microformatting on the pages so good luck using any plugins like Operator. Come to think of it, since it’s all using spiffy DHTML, good luck getting anything off the damn page. Right, so apparently, this comes from the La Brea Tar Pit school of data sharing.
Which doesn’t bother me since there’s no way to put data on there either. There’s no facility to have this link to your twitter stream, MyBlogLog stream, or anything, really. No way to link to your local address book or Plaxo account, either. This is kinda odd because the big buzz word for the year or so before i left was “Vitality” where Yahoo would be a focus point for getting that sort of info. i’ve been digging around on the various services that offer it and know what all would be involved in getting that data. Hell, the MyBlogLog folks already built it out months ago after an idle thought and a few extra cycles for coding. It’s not really hard.
Oh yeah, that whole “Vitality” thing? What it meant was that it would go through your various contacts, see who you deal with on a frequent basis and pump those up as being more important than, say, the guy who’s email address you got five years ago when you needed a plumber. Pretty cool, huh? Ok, a little creepy since it means that Yahoo would be paying attention to stuff like that, but hey, if you’re a heavy Yahoo user (Mail, IM, the 8,267 previous “social” attempts) they’ve already got that info and it’s really nothing more than running a few blind scripts to figure out who those folks are. Heck, since this has been in the works for years, they could have been running that behind the scenes in order to prime the pumps.
Only they didn’t.
i know this because the 10 people that i was recommended to connect to were folks that i hadn’t talked to in years. In fact, the folks that i Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! IM, and follow their blogs on My Yahoo? They weren’t in the top 40 folks recommended.
Even better, with all the services Yahoo has to offer, including Y!Messenger, Y!Games, Flickr and Delicious, they chose to monitor Y!360 (isn’t that dead yet?), Yahoo Avatars (seriously?), Yahoo! Buzz, and Yahoo! Shi
tine. Are you kidding me? Those properties? Not even Fantasy Sports?
It’s like they took the most popular properties Yahoo has to offer, the newest platform they want folks to get excited about, and made sure they were placed on rockets headed in opposite directions. Oh, they’ll meet up, but it may take a while, or however long it takes to traverse fourteen billion plus light years (plus minus the effects of dark matter and the eventual protonic diffusion death of all known matter).
Ok, remember how i talked about the fact that you couldn’t change the look of the page? Seriously. what the hell is up with that. The biggest social media site on the web has figured out that letting folks do just that isn’t going to cause the planet to explode. Yeah, they look like crap, but people obviously want that. Hell, the last Social Networky kind of thing allowed you to do that, so you know the code exists.
So, it’s new, but not really built off of anything tried and trusted. It’s got some serious flaws that are being overlooked. It’s being pitched as having a great deal of future glory, eventually, maybe, kinda. And it’s being forced on us without a lot of discussion or vetting.
It’s the Sarah Palin of Social Media sites.