We’re the first ones to admit it, when we designed ClaimID, we expressly stayed away from making it a social networking product. Why? It didn’t make sense – ClaimID is about you. But over time, we realized that just like your links and OpenIDs make up your online identity, so do your friends and contacts. Identity is social, and there’s really no way to avoid that. So this morning, we’re introducing a very lightweight feature that enables you to add contacts in ClaimID.
Of course, you know the classic “contact” problem of any social software. Pretty much, you can only add friends or contacts of people already in the service. And since ClaimID isn’t quite Myspace yet (and we all agree that’s a good thing), what good is your social identity when you can only add a small percentage of your friends as contacts?
So we thought long and hard about this, and we realized that OpenID provided us a solution. As a result, we’ve made our new contacts feature OpenID-based. This means that you can add contacts directly in the service, or you can add OpenID contacts. If your boss doesn’t have a ClaimID, but her blog is an OpenID, she can still be your contact in ClaimID. Why hasn’t the internet been like this all along?
Contacts are about reputation. If we had limited contacts to within our system, you’d be short changed by the limited amount of people you can add. With more and more services producing OpenIDs (AOL, WordPress.com, etc), it just makes sense to build this contact system on top of OpenID. Making contact networks, or social networks, or whatever you want to call them OpenID-based is the future, and we hope that others will join us in embracing this use.
I’ll be following this post with a post that explains the contact system a little bit more in depth. I just wanted to share our reasoning for why we’ve added this feature, and why we decided to make it OpenID-based. We hope you enjoy!