June 1, 2010Flavors.me – Web presence minus the hard work
I really like the idea of everyone having a web presence, more than I like the idea of everyone having a web site. The distinction may be hazy, but I’m talking about an online calling card of sorts that says “Hi, I’m so-and-so, here are a few key facts about me, plus some links to some various sites I use around the web”.
This presence should be publicly accessible (sure, it can link to private things such as your Facebook profile, but it can’t be your Facebook profile), and have a short and sweet URL, which you’d potentially be willing to print on a physical calling card.
As someone who recently printed up some Moo MiniCards to hand out while traveling, the decision of what information to actually put on the things was not as easy as it could have been. If I only get five lines of text to work with, what deserves to be printed? My email address? My website URL? Phone number? My Twitter, Facebook and Flickr URLs? What if I change my mind later? Having a single, easily-editable hub for all of these things would make life easier. I’m not the only one to notice this, and now there are a number of online services trying to fill this niche.
I tried card.ly in the past, and while it works well, it felt too impersonal… more “business card” than “calling card”. It felt like something a “I swear I’m cool — look guys, I’m TWEETING!” sysadmin would use. The cool kids were never going to jump on this bandwagon.
After launching my personal website, I came across Flavors.me, a similar service which is getting major traction with the online crowd who demand style with their substance. The site allows anyone to create a visually appealing online hub for free, with additional features available for $20/year. Within minutes you can throw together something that looks reasonably professional, while highlighting your creativity — you unique Brooklyn snowflake, you. Sometimes you are uniquely defined by a photo you took of a sheep pissing in a field, and Flavors.me is not going to deny you that.
A very important aspect of Flavors.me is that it attempts to go beyond simply linking to the web services you want featured. The default behavior is to actually show your Facebook/Twitter/Flickr content on your Flavors.me page, which requires you to authorize Flavors.me with each of these services’ APIs. I have no problems doing this for sites like Twitter and Flickr where I consider all of my data to be public, but I was not pleased with the idea of letting strangers read my Facebook content via Flavors.me.
I’d like an easy option for basic linking to these external sites, as opposed to giving yet another 3rd party access to my data. Let Facebook handle the task of deciding who is allowed to see my Facebook data… hell, they’re bad enough as it is, without letting someone else into the mix.
Another gripe I have is that many users are using high-resolution, high-quality background images on their profiles, which take forever to load. What is this, the new MySpace? I get it, you’re a quirky person with a talented photographer friend, so why wouldn’t I want a 1.8MB JPEG of you? Flavors.me could easily throw up some warnings or add some basic functionality to resize and adjust image quality on these uploads.
Despite the bad, I may continue to play with Flavors.me … I probably won’t upgrade to a premium account since I have this site, but I’m glad to see that it exists. Browsing the directory for coolsies kept me entertained for over an hour, and chewed up some serious bandwidth. Oh Australia, metered broadband still makes me laugh.