[uf-discuss] Marking Up Personal Profiles

Lachlan Hunt lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au
Sat Sep 30 02:57:14 PDT 2006

   Recently, I've been thinking about the many sites dedicated to 
publishing personal profiles to help you meet others for friendship, 
romance or even intimate encounters, and the many problems associated 
with them; particularly with the way in which they hold onto the data, 
rather than sharing it with the world.

Such sites include RSVP, LavaLife, AdultMatchMaker and dozens of others. 
  The way they generally work is that you are required to sign up for 
the service, enter your profile information and then people can find you 
by searching that same site.  If you want to be found through more than 
one such service, you have to sign up for each individually.

There are several problems with this:
* Service providers usually require you to pay before you can contact 
someone you've found or vice versa.
* They often restrict the amount of contact information you can show 
publicly (see previous point).
* Signing up for one service only allows you to be found by searches 
through them (or their affiliates).
* Signing up for multiple services is time consuming to re-enter all the 
same data and more so if you need to update it.

Anyway, I was thinking, wouldn't it be cool if you could publish your 
profile anywhere you like, whether it be your own personal site or some 
service provider, and your data could be found and searched by any 
search engine.  There are already similar types of search engines for 
searching blogs, sites with heviews, hResumes, etc.  So I'm sure it 
could work for this too.

In fact, hResume is a similar concept, except that it's designed for 
publishing professional information about yourself, whereas this is 
about more personalised information.

The kind of information typically collected by these sites includes the 
following (some of which can already be handled by existing microformats):

* Name, DOB, Address , e-mail, photos (hCard, adr, geo)
* Professional info: occupation, education (hResume)
* Physical attributes: gender, race, height, build, hair colour, eye 
colour, etc.
* Personal preferences: sexual preference, drinking/smoking habits, 
diet, etc.
* Other: Culture, religion, marital status, star sign.
* Descriptions: hobbies, music, sport, reading, general interests, etc.

Other microformats that could be useful for integrating with this would 
* rel-tag. e.g.
     <a href="..." rel="tag" class="gender">Male</a>,
     <a href="..." rel="tag" class="sport">Swimming</a>

* XFN for keeping track of the contacts you meet
* VoteLinks or hReview for rating the people you meet, would like to 
meet or, perhaps, don't want to meet.

There may be privacy concerns with this type of data, but people are 
already making it effectively publicly available through these sites. 
Plus, the users are still ultimately in control of what info they do and 
do not decide to publish.

With all this data available, it could make it so much easier to find 
and meet up with people.  With it published as microformat, I can 
imagine the possibilities for mashups.  e.g. Using google maps to plot 
people living near you with similar interests.  Integrating it with 
Google Calandar or upcoming.org to organise meetings with people who 
have similar interests in your area.

Lachlan Hunt

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