I found OpenId very hard to set up and manage. I think it’s because there aren’t many uses for it, if you aren’t a developer, and it’s simply not used on sites enough. Plus I didn’t want to read pages of text – a graphic walkthrough suitable for a 3 year old suits me just fine, fanks. But ClaimID implementation is a different matter.

Over the last few months there’s been a lot of discussions around our identity on the ‘net. For me – and I don’t think, in spite of what Lynne Spender said, that I’m that eccentric – it means an awful lot of Laurels and SilkCharms floating around the internet.

Hundreds of Laurels/SilkCharms all on one page. Bliss! 🙂

Hence ClaimID. Think of ClaimID as a social bookmarking site for identities and profiles. You link to your profile page or account login on some other site and then bookmark it. There’s a hidden/private field and you can choose whether to turn the API functions on or off. Here’s what I wrote to the developers:

First, it was exactly what I was looking for – the ability to aggregate my profiles (not content, not events, not friends) from all over the net.
With a private field for password hints and the ability to publish/not publish publicly. Fantastic!
The ability to taxonomy group and also folksonomy freetagging is great but not sure how to use them. Still, all good.
The fact I can publish the page openly to the world is fantabulous and I will stick badges everywhere.

It’s not perfect – I’ve got about 100 IDs that I linked to in a few hours. I expect that to climb to over a thousand in the next few weeks. ClaimID is a bit unmanageable although now I’ve found out how to limit the number of display fields, its faster and cleaner to load. There’s no search function for tags or keywords so you have to make sure all Groups are open and then use the browser search. There is the possibility of adding contacts but no search function for contacts and no “check my email address book”. There is a mass-mailout invite, but frankly, who does that anymore?

I asked the developers for a CSV export facility – like Ning gives you- OpenSocial and all that. They responded positively to that. But I’ve worked with devs before *winks* 😀

I created a group called Press Releases, so it’s not just for personalised sites, but static pages that mention me. ClaimID make the point that this is useful if you have a common name i.e. John Smith. You can sort through Google for all your John Smith pages and link to them on ClaimID. One guy created a group called NOT JOHN SMITH (or whatever) to highlight it wasn’t him. They then want you to send the link through to prospective employers (and presumably dates) so that people know that you are John Smith the Developer and not John Smith the Mass Murderer or John Smith the Porn Star.

It’s all a bit of a relief. Normally when I return to a site after a couple of months, I have to search for the signup email which may or may not have the login and password details. If not, I have to use the forgot password feature. Now I put hints in the hidden private data field on ClaimId. Not the actual logon and password but enough to remind me what it should be.

I can use microIds to “verify” my ownership of a page:

The idea behind a MicroID is pretty simple. If you want to use ClaimID to prove that you own a page, you can add this one line of code to your webpage. ClaimID will then go out and verify that you’ve placed the code on your page, and display a “Verified” mark next to your link – so everyone will know that you own the pages you’re claiming.

“We enable your profile with Microformats such as hCard, giving you an easy way to take advantage of these new identity tools.”

How can we develop Friend of A Friend (FOAF) applications if we don’t have management of our own identity on the net? How can we link our identity with our content and our friends, if we don’t first know who (and where) we are? You try adding John Smith as a friend sometime!

Even if you are not into social bookmarking, this has one of the basic hallmarks of that technology – you can access your profiles/logon information from any device. yay! If your hard drive crashes, no problemo! It’s really much easier for me to use claimid.com/silkcharm than remember anything else. Once OpenID becomes prevalent, instead of filling in registration forms, I will just use that URL to login (it will take me to the OpenID site, I put THAT password in, and then agree to link the profiles).

And it might be a start on resolving Chris Brogan’s plea about freeing personal data so he doesn’t have to fill in 14 forms to change jobs:

At least I will have all the pixel versions of me in one place when the information is finally freed. Will you?

*Caveat emptor and disclaimer: consider that organised crime have amazing datamining techniques. Then again, a search of your name is going to reveal these profiles anyway, right? But don’t forget to hide a few of them – Paypal is one for instance.