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Software

Another way to manage online personalities: Profile Builder

Tired of pointing your friends to your multiple social networks? Let Profile Builder do the directing for you.

Yesterday I recorded a podcast on the challenges of managing multiple social network profiles. Today I took a look at a new tool that's supposed to help you do that: Profile Builder. It's an aggregator service. You tell it where you blog, what your main social network is, what networks (like LinkedIn) you're on, and it creates a nice widget for you that you can set to pop up when people press a little "P" icon that you put next to your name, like this: Hi, this is Rafe Needleman View my Profile . (Note that my profile is supposed to pop up over the page, but the Javascript code that does this was slowing down Webware, so I removed it for this write-up, which forces the profile to open in a new page.)

Profile Builder creates personal widgets that you can attach to your name, wherever it appears. CNET Networks

On the Profile Builder site, you fill in all your info in several categories. You can remove items you don't want (for example, there's no resume on my profile), or add your own links and icons for whatever site you want to be part of your online identity. What's really interesting about the profiles is that the service gives you a way to make different profile variations. You can have a work profile that points to your business blog, and a personal profile that links to your MySpace page. There's a management tool that shows you which sites are sending traffic to your profile, and once you get a click from a new site, you can specify precisely how your profile will look to visitors who come from there.

The system only reads info from your various online personas; it can't write back to your sites. That feature is planned for the future, and would be very valuable. Imagine if you could update your bio on Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn from one central location. Sweet.

Currently, Profile Builder is a handy way to include your online identity on all your blog comment posts, e-mails, and so on. But the company has a minor problem: People don't get it. As CEO Boyan Josic told me, only about five to 10 percent of users are using the product the way he intended. The rest see it as yet another social network, and are creating, I suppose, dead-end "About me" pages on Profile Builder that don't link to their other online personalities. Sadly, Profile Builder is a rotten social network. But it is a very nice aggregation service, if that's what you're looking for.

See also: Profilactic (review), ProfileLinker, Ziggs, and Mashable's 20 Social Network Aggregators.